The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has seized Rs 1.85 crore from the accounts of accused Swapna Suresh, Sarith PS and Sandeep Nair in the Kerala gold smuggling case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
The Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate Court (Economic Offences) had sent Swapna Suresh and Sarith PS to Customs custody till 8 December.
The ED has initiated proceedings to seize all the assets of former principal secretary of the Kerala CMO M Sivasankar who was arrested in connection with the case. The ED will file a charge sheet against Sivasankar on 24 December under the PMLA case.
According to sources, Sivasankar is named as one of the masterminds of the gold smuggling in the charge sheet, which is getting filed 56 days after his arrest in the case. The ED has ordered the confiscation of properties belonging to him.
The matter had come to light after 30 kg gold worth Rs 14.82 crore, smuggled in a diplomatic cargo, was busted by the Customs in Thiruvananthapuram on 5 July.
Last week, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had complained to Prime Minister Narendra Modi about the manner in which national probe agencies are handling the gold smuggling case, claiming it was not in tune with generally accepted norms and sought his urgent intervention.
In his letter to Modi, he sought intervention to rein in the agencies, which, he said, are going in the wrong direction and have caused a lot of heartburn for committed state government officials who feel they are being hunted.
“It now appears these agencies are on a fault-finding mission on a few social projects which will bring solace to the people of Kerala. We have no issues with the probe, but what we oppose is the manner in which it is going forward, as they are crossing all the accepted norms,” Vijayan said.
“It has been five months this case surfaced and so far there is no clue of who has sent this gold and who was the final recipient. Likewise some accused and suspects continue to be abroad, but no action has been taken… instead what’s happening is that attempts to shame the government are going forward,” he added.