Thiruvananthapuram: Suspended IAS officer and former principal secretary to the chief minister M Sivasankar has been admitted to the cardiac ICU of a private hospital in Thiruvananthapuram on Friday, according to reports.
Manorama News reported that Custom's officials had reached his residence on Friday to take him for questioning, on the way he complained of uneasiness and was taken to hospital. Customs officials were also seen at the hospital premises, however, they returned after waiting for more than three hours. This had raised suspicions that the Customs department was planning to arrest him.
NIA officials investigating the gold smuggling case also visited the hospital, but they told Manorama News the visit was just to enquire about the hospitalisation.
He was taken to the hospital following high blood pressure according to relatives. Sivasankar's wife also works at the same hospital's nephrology department.
Hospital authorities informed that as minor ECG variations were found, he will undergo angiogram and MRI scan on Saturday.
Sequence of events
• 5.30 pm: A team of customs officials arrive at Sivasankar's house in Poojappura. Speculations were rife throughout the day about his questioning and possible arrest on Thursday.
• The customs officials who came to his residence preferred to take him in their official vehicle. Sivasankar had been using his private vehicle frequently for travelling within the city and even to Kochi to appear before the investigating agencies.
• After getting into Customs vehicle, Sivasankar complained of uneasiness and chest pain. Soon the customs team accompanying him informed Sivasankar's family about his sudden health problem.
• Subsequently his wife arrived on the spot and took Sivasankar to the private hospital located in Kearmana.
• Hearing the news, a large posse of media persons also descended on the hospital premises to report the latest developments on Sivasankar's health.
Sivasankar's hospitalisation shifts focus from Mani politics to PRS hospital
The fast paced dramatic development associated with chief minister Pinarayhi Vijayan's former principal secretary M Sivasankar's hospitalisation drew the attention of the entire state to the Karamana based PRS hospital in the state capital.
As the news spread about Sivasankar being taken to hospital in a customs car, heart beats grew in political circles of Kerala in anticipation of his arrest. At that time all news channels were debating the issue of Jose K Mani's Kerala Congress (M)'s entry into LDF and his visit to AKG Centre and CPI headquarters earlier in the day. Suddenly the anchors piloting the live prime time debates on politics, had to shift focus from Mani to PRS hospital as news broke about Sivasankar's dramatic hospitalization.
Earlier when Customs officials arrived at Sivasankar's house in Poojappura and insisted on taking him in their vehicle it became almost certain that he would be taken into custody. However, the events that followed caught everyone by surprise.
Kerala HC restrains ED from arresting Sivasankar until October 23
The Kerala High Court on Thursday restrained the Enforcement Directorate (ED), probing the money trail in the sensational gold smuggling case, from arresting him till October 23. Apprehending arrest by the ED, Sivasankar who is facing probe in connection with the case, had moved the court on Wednesday seeking anticipatory bail.
He was summoned by the ED on multiple occasions to confront the statements given by different accused and witnesses.
He had expressed fears that media's "false propaganda" and frivolous news items" and constant demand for his arrest for creating news value has created a situation where the investigating agencies are forced to "save their skin" from allegations by arresting him, thereby playing to the fourth estate and avoiding criticism.
Sivasankar was earlier interrogated by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and the Customs (Preventive) Commissionerate probing separate cases related to the gold smuggling using diplomatic channels through the international airport at Thiruvananthapuram.