Court sends Sivasankar to 5-day ED custody
Kochi | A special court here on Wednesday sent M Sivasankar, former Principal Secretary to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, to five-day Enforcement Directorate (ED) custody in connection with alleged violation of the Foreign Contribution (Regulations) Act in the Life Mission, a flagship housing project of the state government.
Sivasankar was taken into custody on Tuesday night by the central agency which has been questioning the former IAS officer for the past three days. His arrest was recorded earlier in the day.
The PMLA court here today granted till February 20 custody of Sivasankar to ED and issued a direction to produce him before it on that date.
The court directed ED to provide relaxation time to Sivasankar during interrogation and also medical assistance if needed, court sources said.
Sivasankar, who retired on January 31, was earlier arrested in a related gold smuggling case involving diplomatic baggage to UAE consulate.
The CBI had in 2020 filed an FIR in a Kochi court under section 120 B of the IPC and section 35 of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA), 2010 on a complaint by the then Wadakancherry Congress MLA, Anil Akkara, listing Santosh Eappen, Managing Director of Unitac Builder, Kochi as the first accused and Sane Ventures as the second accused.
The two companies had undertaken the construction based on the agreement entered with them by Red Crescent, an international humanitarian movement, which had agreed to provide Rs 20 crore towards the Life Mission project.
Akkara had also alleged that there had been a violation of the FCRA by the Life Mission project, private companies and others.
The alleged FCRA violation and corruption in the project had snowballed into a major political issue at that time with opposition parties charging that Swapna Suresh, a key accused in the gold smuggling case, had admitted before an NIA court that she had received Rs 1 crore as commission from the project.
She had reportedly claimed that the money was meant for Sivasankar.
However, Life Mission CEO had submitted before the court that Unitac and Sane Ventures had undertaken the construction based on the agreement entered into with them by Red Crescent and had directly accepted foreign contributions from Red Crescent, which is a foreign agency.
The petition also said the companies which signed an agreement with the Red Crescent do not come under the categories of persons prohibited from receiving any foreign contribution as per Section 3 of the FCRA.