ED flags Sivasankar's abuse of power and bid to steer probe astray

Sivasankar attempted to mislead investigation, ED arrest report reveals
M Sivasankar
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Kochi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has flagged gross misuse of official powers by the Kerala bureaucrat who was arrested on charges of money laundering in a bid to aid the accused in the politically explosive gold smuggling case with overseas links.

The arrest report of M Sivasankar submitted by Enforcement Directorate (ED) in court says the once-most influential officer in the state had misused the powers of the government office that he had held until recently.

Sivasankar was given time to disclose the details of the accused who worked against the nation. However, he stood in support of them and tried to mislead the investigating officials, the ED alleged.

Major charges in the report

• In order to keep Rs 64 lakh and Rs 36.50 lakh amassed by Swapna through illegal means under his control, Sivasankar took the initiative to open a bank locker in joint ownership with his close chartered accountant friend. By way of this act he tactfully took the ownership and control of Swapna's black money.

• He frequently intervened in Swapna's illegal financial transactions by misusing his official position.

• When confronted with evidence about the excessive interest shown by him in Swapna's money, Sivasankar tried to cleverly avoid such questions.

• He sought to disrupt the functioning of the Customs in a criminal manner. The arrest report mentions that Sivasankar has admitted to directly calling up a Customs official in April 2019 to get a diplomatic parcel released.

• He deliberately intervened in gold smuggling and helped to launder the ill-gotten money received by way of it.

• Huge amount was brought into the country through smuggling. His arrest is crucial for probing the issues related to the source of black money, its hiding and utilization.

• He gave wrong answers to questions for misleading the probe. Even on the day of arrest, he tried to give misleading answers. When confronted with evidence during questioning, he only spoke untruth.

Sivasankar cries bad health

Sivasankar who failed in his bid to get anticipatory bail, cited bad health in a desperate bid to avoid arrest.

Before going into custody of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) case, Sivasankar said he wanted to apprise the court of certain things.

The Judge directed him to come out of the accused box and closer to his podium to speak. Sivasankar said he was suffering from acute back pain since 2018 and the investigation team had taken him into custody before the completion of the treatment. He requested the court to allow ayurvedic treatment while in custody, rest in between questioning and permission to speak with wife, brother and nephew during custody period.

The court granted the request made by the officer.

The investigation team informed the court that Sivasankar had refused to take food since 10.30 am on Wednesday when he was taken into custody and this was adversely affecting his health and the probe into the case.

Sivasankar was clad in the same T-shirt that he wore at the time of the arrest. He looked depressed.

Principal Sessions Judge Dr Kausar Edappagath remanded the accused in ED custody. Special Prosecutor T A Unnkrishnan appeared for ED while S Rajeev represented the accused.

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