Allegation that agency exerted pressure on Sivasankar to name politicians baseless: ED

The agency’s rebuttal came after Mr. Sivasankar’s counsel filed an argument note before the court on November 16.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has rejected the allegation by M. Sivasankar, former Principal Secretary to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, that it had exerted pressure on him to name leaders of political parties in the diplomatic baggage gold smuggling case.

The agency’s rebuttal came after Mr. Sivasankar’s counsel filed an argument note before the court on November 16 alleging that the agency had forced him to name political party leaders in connection with the case. The ED termed the contents of the argument note filed a day before Mr. Sivasankar’s bail application as baseless and requested the court to reject it.

The order on Mr. Sivasankar’s bail plea is expected by 3 p.m. on November 17.

The ED said the allegation that it had exerted pressure to extract the names of certain political party leaders was made with mala fide intention and false. Mr. Sivasankar had never raised it at the time of custody or at the time of argument in the court. This is only an afterthought, intentionally made to make false allegations against the investigating agency, according to the objections filed by the ED.

Pointing out that there were no contradictions in the ED’s reports, T.A. Unnikrishnan, Special Public Prosecutor representing the agency, said that investigation had revealed that Mr. Sivasankar was in the know of the gold smuggling and was the beneficiary of the kickbacks received from Unitac Builders in the LIFE Mission project.

The WhatsApp chats between Mr. Sivasankar and the key accused Swapna Suresh showed that the former was sharing confidential information with her about certain bidders for the LIFE Mission and Kerala Fibre Optic Network projects. Mr. Sivasankar was showing keen interest to get some sub-contracts in these projects to Unitac Builders, it alleged.

The agency said that its investigation into the kickbacks received by Mr. Sivasankar in other projects like Smart City Kochi and Taurus Downtown is progressing. The preliminary investigation has revealed that Ms. Suresh was linked to these projects in some way or the other, it said.

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