On Election Day December 10, ED to quizz Pinarayi Vijayan's close aide Raveendran
In connection with the gold smuggling case, the Enforcement Directorate has served notice to CM Raveendran, additional private secretary to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, today to appear before them on December 10. He will be questioned based on statements given by Swapna Suresh, the prime accused in the case.
Reportedly, ED officials have collected property details of Raveendran and his wife. The officers have sought the information from the District Registrar Generals of Thiruvananthapuram, Kozhikode, and Kannur. According to sources, the ED had also raided certain firms in Kozhikode and Kannur for their alleged connections with Raveendran.
Previously, the Enforcement Directorate conducted a raid at Uralungal Labour Contract Co-operative Society (ULCCS) at their headquarters at Vadakara. There were allegations that CM Raveendran have links with the Uralungal Society. The ED officers spent almost two hours investigating around the headquarters, but ULCCS chairman Paleri Rameshan told media persons that the ED officers were only asking questions and did not take any files.
Earlier, there were reports that Raveendran was likely to be quizzed by the ED officials immediately after he was discharged from Thiruvananthapuram Medical College on Friday after admitting for post-Covid complications.
On November 6, the ED had served a notice to Raveendran, asking him to appear for questioning, which has already been delayed by around a month as he had tested Covid positive earlier. After his quarantine, he had informed the Directorate of the same after which the agency had sent him a fresh notice. Following which the private secretary was admitted to the medical college citing post-Covid complications.
Reportedly, Swapna Suresh and the other accused had hinted about Raveendran multiple times during their custodial interrogation. Besides, the probe agency received information that, along with the Chief Minister’s former Principal Secretary M Sivasankar, Raveendran was also involved in a few questionable appointments in the IT department.
The agency had claimed that there is evidence that Sivasankar was receiving kickbacks for various state government projects. However, it is not yet clear whether Raveendran was also indulging in any such kind of corruption. However, the private secretary will be questioned based on statements given by Swapna and Sarith, states an ED statement.
The Enforcement Directorate, in its remand report filed following the arrest of M Sivasankar, stated that the former bureaucrat and his team in the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) were fully informed about the smuggling of gold and other products using diplomatic baggage that arrived for the Kerala UAE Consulate.
Meanwhile, the CPI (M) state secretariat had asked Raveendran to appear before the probe agency, and any further delay could create an impression that there is something for him to cover up, claims sources. However, Raveendran cannot evade interrogation forever like this, adds the source. Besides, the ED Kochi unit searched a few establishments in Vadakara, following Raveendran’s alleged investments on Friday.