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Kerala IAS officer to be quizzed in gold smuggling case

PUNJAB NEWSLINE BUREAU
July 14, 2020 03:14 PM

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) is likely to quiz senior IAS officer M. Sivasankar in connection with the ongoing probe into the Kerala gold smuggling case, reports indicated on Monday.

Even though Sivasankar has washed his hands off the matter in the past, the NIA is said to be probing the IAS officer's alleged role since he was reported to be very close to prime accused Swapna Suresh, who was put in a top post in the IT Department where Sivasankar was the Secretary before her arrest in the case.

Sivasankar was ousted as Secretary to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan after the case came to light early this month.

Vijayan has said he is not worried if the central agency reaches his office in connection with the probe.

Meanwhile, the Congress-led United Democratic Front is set to move a no-confidence motion against the Pinarayi government in the Kerala Assembly in the wake of what it calls numerous scams in the IT Department, which is headed by Vijayan.

The Congress-led opposition is also likely to move a motion to remove Assembly Speaker P. Sreeramakrishnan since he had allegedly inaugurated a new business venture of Swapna in her presence.

The NIA had arrested Swapna and Sandeep Nair from Bengaluru on Saturday for their alleged involvement in the Kerala gold smuggling case.

On Sunday, the NIA brought them by road on a transit remand and presented them in a NIA court at Kochi, which remanded them in custody.

The NIA took over the case on Friday and filed a FIR against the accused under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

Swapna, a former employee of the UAE Consulate in the Kerala capital, is among the four accused the NIA had booked for allegedly facilitating smuggling of 30 kg gold in the diplomatic baggage to Thiruvananthapuram from Dubai on July 5.

Two other co-accused are PS Sarith and Fazil Fareed.

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