Nation

‘Swapna’s husband is my relative’, Sivasankar tells NIA sleuths

Thiruvananthapuram: M Sivasankar, Kerala chief minister’s former principal secretary, had to put up with a ve-hour interrogation by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) sleuths as part of the probe into diplomatic baggage gold smuggling case. He is in line for another round of questioning soon.

The NIA team reportedly sought details of Sivasankar’s relations with the accused in the gold smuggling case. According to sources, Sivasankar told the investigators that he is related to the husband of second-accused Swapna Suresh.

His inability to sense Swapna’s connection with gold smugglers was a personal failure, he told the NIA team. No department concerned with intelligence alerted him about her, he told the interrogators. He would have kept her away if he had had got any warning, he said. He said he also did not have any knowledge of Swapna’s educational qualication.

Sivasankar has been under a cloud after it emerged that he had helped her gang rent a at near the Kerala Secretariat in which the gold smuggling operations were allegedly planned.

He is also alleged to have a hand in Swapna’s appointment at the Space Park, which is under the IT Department of the Kerala government. The interrogation was based on phone records and documents seized from the homes of the accused.

DIG joins from Hyderabad online

The NIA DIG also joined the questioning from Hyderabad online. Sivasankar was showed pictures of some people believed to be involved in gold smuggling. He was asked if he had seen any of them with Swapna.

The NIA had evidence that Swapna had contacted Sivasankar within two days of Customs ofcials detaining the baggage with smuggled gold, seeking his help to get the parcel released.

The investigation team also asked him if he helped Swapna in response to the call or if he appointed anyone to help her.

The agency has obtained only preliminary details from Sivasankar’s interrogation on Thursday. It will question him further based on the evidence it has collected and statements given by the accused to the agency.

The NIA team interrogated the suspended bureaucrat at the Peroorkada Police Club on Thursday evening. The session ended at 9 pm.

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