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Breaking: Kerala High Court Grants Bail To Suspended IAS Officer M Sivasankar In Money Laundering Case

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
25 Jan 2021 8:29 AM GMT
Breaking: Kerala High Court Grants Bail To Suspended IAS Officer M Sivasankar In Money Laundering Case
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The Kerala High Court on Monday granted bail to M Sivasankar, former Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister of Kerala, in the money laundering case registered by Enforcement Directorate in relation to the gold smuggling case.A single bench of Justice Ashok Menon passed the order."There is no doubt about the complicity of the applicant and there are no reasonable grounds to believe...

The Kerala High Court on Monday granted  bail to M Sivasankar, former Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister of Kerala, in the money laundering case registered by Enforcement Directorate in relation to the gold smuggling case.

A single bench of Justice Ashok Menon passed the order.

"There is no doubt about the complicity of the applicant and there are no reasonable grounds to believe that he is not guilty. However, it should also be considered whether there is a likelihood of the applicant committing any offence while on bail. I am afraid that the prosecution has not been able to establish this fact. Going by the allegations made by the ED, the applicant was indulged in laundering of 64 lakhs which was seized from the SBI locker. ₹ There is no indication that the applicant had anything to do with the locker belonging to A2 in Federal Bank. Thus the proviso to Section 45 (1) of the PMLA would operate in view of the fact that the money allegedly laundered is less than rupees one crore. The fact that the applicant is suffering from various illness would also come to his benefit as the proviso to Section 45 exempts a sick person from the rigours of the Section.", the court observed.

The court observed that embargo under Section 45 (1) of the PMLA would continue to stand in the way of granting bail to the applicant except under the conditions mentioned therein.

The court also noted that he has been in custody since 28/10/2020 and was subjected to interrogation including custodial interrogation in a number of times. "The present pandemic times also does not encourage incarceration of an accused indefinitely. I find no rationale for continuing the applicant's judicial custody as an under trial in this case The applicant is therefore, entitled to be released on regular bail on stringent condition.", Justice Ashok Menon said while directed his release on bail on execution of bond for 5,00,000/-with two solvent ₹ sureties for like amount each to the satisfaction of the Jurisdictional court.

Earlier today he got default bail in a case registered by Customs in relation to Kerala Gold Smuggling case. But he is in custody in a case related to alleged dollar smuggling, in which the Customs arrested him last week.

On October 28, the High Court had dismissed Sivasankar's anticipatory bail plea in the ED case observing that there were circumstances suggesting that he might be involved in money laundering with Swapna Suresh. The case relates to the seizure of 30 kg of 24 carat gold worth ₹14.82 crore at Thiruvananthapuram airport on July 5 by the Customs (Preventive) Commissionerate, Kochi, which was sought to be brought through the diplomatic consignment sent to UAE consulate at the State capital.

Sivasankar came under the cloud of suspicion on account of his connections with the prime accused in the gold smuggling case, Swapna Suresh and P R Sarith. After the reports about gold smuggling surfaced in media, the state government suspended him from service last July for alleged violations of conduct rules.

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