M Sivasankar, former principal secretary to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on midnight of July 14 left Customs Department's office in Thiruvananthapuram after being questioned. He had been questioned for about nine hours as part of probe into Kerala gold smuggling case by NIA and Customs. Phone call records of Swapna Suresh and Sarith PS, accused in the high profile Kerala gold smuggling case have revealed that they had conversations with M Sivasankar multiple times. This development comes days after 30 kg of gold worth Rs 14.82 crore smuggled in consignment camouflaged as diplomatic baggage was busted by Customs in Thiruvananthapuram. The NIA has registered an FIR under Sections 16, 17 and 18 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, against four accused persons, of which three have been arrested.
Lockdown in Thiruvananthapuram has been extended for a week to restrict COVID spread. In order to ensure restrictions, police personnel in Thiruvananthapuram are in action. IDs of people are being checked as they move about for their daily chores. Triple-lockdown (more restrictions) has also been imposed in containment zones. Southern state has reported 6,534 confirmed cases so far.
The Leader of Opposition (LoP) in Kerala Legislative Assembly, Ramesh Chennithala wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi over 'misuse of diplomatic immunity of UAE Consulate, Thiruvananthapuram by international gold smuggling cartels with the collusion of officials working for Kerala Government.' While speaking to ANI in Thiruvananthapuram on July 07, Ramesh Chennithala said, "I have written to PM, asking for Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) inquiry in the gold smuggling case. By misusing diplomatic channel, Chief Minister's Office (CMO) helped culprits. Merely removing Secretary won't solve issue." "Chief Minister also can't be spared as without his knowledge this could not have happened," he added.
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