The National Investigation Agency (NIA) could be reasonably assuming that M. Sivasankar, the now-removed Principal Secretary to Chief Minister, could have been the victim of a game of deception and treachery played out by the accused in the Thiruvananthapuram airport gold smuggling case.
The racket was unearthed when the Customs, on July 5, seized a 30-kg of the gold consignment which arrived on an Emirates flight on June 30. The seizure was made on July 5.
Unconfirmed reports said Sivasankar was even given liquor laced with psychotropic substances at night parties organised at the residence of Swapna Nair, an accused in the case.
Sources familiar with the investigation said Sivasankar had made the revelations in the marathon questioning by the NIA in its Kochi office on July 27 and 28. On the basis of the tainted officer’s statements, the NIA is reportedly preparing to secure the custody of two other accused, namely, Sandeep, and Sarith, apart from Swapna Suresh and question them again.
The NIA would also investigate the operations of certain consultancy firms, it is known.
Now, the investigators infer that Ramees, an accused, ‘exploited’ Sivasankar’s close connection to Swapna’s family to plan and execute the operations of the smuggling ring.
The parties at Swapna’s residence were a guise for Sarith and Sandeep to get close to Sivasankar, sources said.
Sivasankar was unable to ‘recollect’ what exactly transpired at the parties. Some residents of Swapna’s apartment complex had also furnished corroborative statements to the investigators.
It is said that Sivasankar could convince the investigators of the reason for him shifting out of his ancestral home to an apartment. Some of his colleagues and friends told the NIA in their statements that ‘Sivasankar’s ‘interests’ and ‘circumstances’ were ‘exploited’ by the accused.
Sources said the officer’s revelations on his relationship to the accused came as a ‘surprise’ to the investigators.
Accused Sarith, after NIA questioning and evidence-gathering, has been sent back to the District Jail, Ernakulam, on remand.