Kochi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has charged Kerala chief minister’s former principal secretary M Sivasankar and CPM state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan’s son Bineesh Kodiyeri under the same section for alleged money laundering. However, if proven guilty, the two will get different sentences.
Under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), the usual punishment if convicted is imprisonment of up to seven years and a fine of up to Rs 5 lakh. But if it is proved that black money was collected or distributed for drugs-related activities, then the imprisonment term will be increased to 10 years.
The ED's allegations against Sivasankar are that he had helped Swapna Suresh, one of the main accused in the July 5 drugs smuggling case, obtain black money, helped her hide the money and keep Rs 1 crore and gold in a bank locker that he had asked her to jointly open with his chartered accountant.
Bineesh has been arrested on the basis of the revelations made by Anoop Mohammad, who has been arrested in the Bengaluru drugs case.
If it is found that he had put money directly or indirectly in Anoop's drugs dealings, then the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), which is investigating the case under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPS), will invoke Section 27 (a) against Bineesh.
If convicted, he then faces up to 10 to 20 years of rigorous imprisonment and a fine of up to Rs 1-2 lakh. The NCB is examining Bineesh's statements recorded by the ED.