NIA to examine Sivasankar’s foreign trips

NIA to examine Sivasankar’s foreign trips
M Sivasankar
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Kochi: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) will look into the foreign trips made by suspended bureaucrat M Sivasankar as part of its inquiries into the   Thiruvananthapuram airport gold smuggling case, which, it says, has terror links.

The agency has started scrutinising the official and private foreign trips he had made over the past one year.

Sivasankar, who was removed from the posts of the chief minister’s principal secretary and IT secretary over his association with some of the main accused in the gold smuggling case, gave vague answers to questions about his foreign travel during his detailed interrogation done by the NIA in three stages — first in Thiruvananthapuram and then at the agency’s Kochi office on Monday and Tuesday, sources said.

Of all the IAS officers working for the Kerala government, he is said to have made the most number of foreign trips. The NIA is collecting details of all those people who had accompanied him on these trips. It has also sought the help of other intelligence agencies in getting the details.

The movements abroad of the two main accused in the case — Rabbins from Muvattupuzha and Faisal Fareed belonging to Kodungallur — are also being investigated. The two, believed to be in Dubai, had arranged for the gold that was being smuggled into Kerala in diplomatic baggage through the Trivandrum International Airport.

The racket was busted on July 5 when Customs officials found 30 kg of gold in a diplomatic baggage addressed to the UAE Consulate in Thiruvananthapuram. Two former employees of the consulate — P S Sarith Kumar and Swapna Suresh — were arrested for their alleged involvement in the smuggling.

The two had known Sivasankar and had used his help to rent a flat near the secretariat to hatch the smuggling conspiracy with other members of the gang, investigating agencies say.

Sivasankar was removed from his posts and later suspended after his links to Swapna and Sarith emerged. During interrogation, he maintained that he did not know that Swapna was part of a smuggling racket and that he had helped her because her husband was a relative.

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