More trouble awaits former principal secretary to the CMO M Sivasankar as an Ernakulam court on Thursday gave clearance to the Customs department for his arrest in connection with the dollar smuggling case.
The Additional Chief Magistrate Economic Offences Court in Ernakulam gave the green light for Sivasankar’s arrest. The former principal secretary of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan was arrested in connection with the gold smuggling case.
Earlier, the Customs department questioned state protocol officer Shine A Haq in connection with the dollar smuggling case. The department recently questioned the assistant protocol officer following which the Customs questioned Shine.
According to reports, gold smuggling accused Swapna Suresh and Sarith testified to the department that Shine played a role in issuing diplomatic immunity to those not deserving as per rules and regulations. Reportedly, Customs have evidence that Shine issued cards to three people including the Egyptian citizen Khalid. Khalid was the head of the finance department at the UAE consulate. Khalid received commission under the Life Mission project and has been charged by Customs with embezzling money.
Recently, Secretariat Employees Association, a Left organization alleged that the Customs officials had beaten and insulted assistant protocol officer MS Harikrishnan during questioning regarding the case. A complaint was filed with the DGP in this regard.
Earlier, the Customs department said it will be questioning Kerala Assembly Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan in connection with the dollar smuggling case after the conclusion of the Assembly session.
The Customs officials approached Assistant Solicitor General (ACG) P Vijayakumar seeking legal advice and procedures to follow before questioning the Speaker. The ACG told Customs that there were no legal obstacles and gave the department the green light to proceed with the questioning.
Reportedly, Sreeramakrishnan handed a bag to gold smuggling accused Swapna Suresh and Sarith PS, asking them to deliver the bag to the United Arab Emirates Consulate General’s office. The Speaker denied any involvement in the case.
The dollar smuggling scandal came into attention during the investigation of the gold smuggling case. Three central agencies – National Investigation Agency (NIA), Customs Department, Enforcement Department – are investigating the gold smuggling case.