Kerala CM’s ex-aide admits he has close links with smuggling accused Swapna, husband

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s former Secretary and IAS officer M. Sivasankar has confessed to investigators that he used to regularly visit the Thiruvananthapuram gold smuggling case second accused Swapna Suresh’s apartment late in the night and spend hours together with her. He was grilled for 9 hours by the Customs in the gold smuggling case. The National Investigation Agency (NIA) officials are expected to question him on this in detail. Sivasankar had arrived for questioning at the Customs office on Tuesday evening and was let off only around 2.15 am on Wednesday.

Sivasankar was served a notice on Tuesday. He expressed his willingness to appear for questioning on the same day. Customs officials asked about his links with other accused in the smuggling case and the nature of his relationship with Swapna. He was asked about Swapna’s dealings and his links with the Chief Minister and other ministers.

Swapna, a former employee of the UAE Consulate, here and employed with the IT Department, of which Sivasankar was incharge, and three others were booked by the NIA for allegedly facilitating smuggling of 30 kg gold in diplomatic baggage to Thiruvananthapuram from Dubai on July 5. When Customs officials impounded the gold, Sivasankar and a an advisor of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had contacted officials to get the release of the consignment brought in through diplomatic route.

Sivasankar ran into trouble after his alleged links with Swapna surfaced. Sivasankar has reportedly admitted to the Customs that he and Swapna were friends. She was on the run after the arrest of her friend and former colleague PS Sarith by the Customs.

Sivasankar was also asked about SpacePark project established in collaboration with ISRO in which Swapna was given a major role. Swapna and Sivasankar had attended several Kerala government events. Vijayan removed him both as his Secretary and incharge of Information Technology Department though he ruled out his suspension on Tuesday.

Sivasankar knows a lot about Pinarayi Vijayan’s daughter’s business as well. The NIA officials are expected to interrogate him on this respect as well. Sivasankar said he and Swapna’s husband were friends and he often helped him. The NIA, which had taken over the case on Friday and filed a FIR against the accused under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, arrested Swapna and Nair from Bengaluru on Saturday for alleged role in the Kerala gold smuggling case.