Kochi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED), probing the money laundering angle in the diplomatic baggage gold smuggling scam, has asked C M Raveendran, additional private secretary to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, to appear before it on November 27.
Raveendran, known as a close confidante of Vijayan, will have to appear before the ED sleuths at their Kochi office.
Raveendran was admitted to the Thiruvananthapuram Medical College Hospital on Wednesday, hours after he was issued the summons. Sources said he was hospitalised for post-COVID medical examinations.
The ED served a second notice to Raveendran on Wednesday after he tested negative for coronavirus. The central agency had earlier asked the top official to appear for questioning on November 6. However, it was delayed after Raveendran informed the ED that he had tested positive for COVID-19.
Raveendran had recently informed the ED that he has tested negative for the disease but would be home quarantined till November 26. As per the latest notice, Raveendran has been asked to appear before the agency the very next day after his quarantine period ends.
The ED decided to question Raveendran following the arrest and subsequent interrogation of M Sivasankar, former principal secretary to the chief minister. The investigating team, reportedly, is probing Raveendran's role in the allotment and funding for some of the flagship projects initiated by the Information Technology Department. The agency would also investigate Raveendran's alleged links with Swapna Suresh, the key accused in the gold smuggling case.
Raveendran's name figures at many places in the written statements given by Sivasankar as reply to ED's questions. The ED has got more than one statement as evidence which indicates that Sivasankar would not take any decision without the knowledge of Raveendran.
After Raveendran was summoned by the ED first, Pinarayi Vijayan had come out in his support, saying he and his party trust him and hence was not worried.
Ever since the gold smuggling scam broke, the opposition parties have been alleging that the chief minister's office was at the epicentre of the crime.