M Sivasankar, former principal secretary of Kerala CMO. (file photo)
M Sivasankar, former principal secretary of Kerala CMO. (file photo)

Kerala gold smuggling: Trouble mounts for Sivasankar as chats with CA reveals contradiction

ANI | Updated: Oct 26, 2020 19:43 IST

Kochi (Kerala) [India], October 26 (ANI): The chats between M Sivasankar, the former principal secretary of Kerala Chief Minister and his Chartered accountant P Venugopal have revealed a contradiction with the statement he had given to the Enforcement Directorate.
The WhatsApp chats between the two were submitted by the ED in a chargesheet filed before a special court here in connection with the case related to the high profile Kerala gold smuggling case. Venugopal is one of the witnesses in the case.
Earlier, Sivasankar had informed the ED that he was not aware of and had not interfered in any financial transactions. However, according to the chats, Sivasankar was aware of the financial transactions.
It was revealed that Swapna Suresh and Venugopal had opened a joint locker and funds received from the Life Mission deal and gold smuggling were deposited in it.
In one of the chats, Sivasankar can also be seen advising Venugopal to stay quiet and even to move out of the city to skip the media amid the controversy over the case.
Sivasankar had on August 1 texted Venugopal on asking, "All Ok?", to which Venugopal responded, "Sir based on news reports my partners asked me...I told them the facts. I fully explained to my senior partner the full facts. What I told NIA, customs and my senior partner, wife, staff and the facts are the same. I shall forward all the WhatsApp chats with her."

On August 4, Sivasankar again texted Venugopal, to which Venugopal replied: "I stayed in the house for two days. Newspaper people were trying to call and meet me in the house. I had kept the gate locked. I did not answer their calls so far."
Sivasankar responded saying, "Media has more or less moved on, stay quiet".
The chats also revealed that someone had informed him that his financial transactions will be examined by the agencies probing the matter. Sivasankar had also texted Venugopal on July 21 asking him to ready his financial documents, according to the chats.
"Customs officials indicated that there will be an examination by Income Tax about my financial background, hope we have all documents. As you know, I have no clue at all about any of this," Sivasankar was quoted as texting Venugopal.
Notably, the economic offences watchdog had earlier submitted before the Kerala High Court that it has reason to believe that Sivasankar was the real beneficiary of the gold smuggling.
The case, which is currently being probed by the Enforcement Directorate, the National Investigation Agency and the Customs Department, pertains to the smuggling of gold in the state through diplomatic channels.
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 July 5. (ANI)