Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan’s additional private secretary CM Raveendran on Thursday appeared before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for questioning with regards to the gold smuggling case, Hindustan Times reported.
Raveendran has already been summoned four times by the Central agency. He was first instructed to appear last month, but he could not as he had tested positive for COVID-19. Later, he avoided the instructions, shielding himself by citing post-COVID-19 complications. He was issued a fresh summons after he was discharged from Thiruvananthapuram Medical College Hospital last week.
Raveendran approached the high court, seeking anticipatory bail but the ED declined it, saying he was not made an accused in any case. The court is set to address his plea later in the day. CM’s other secretary, senior Indian Administrative Service officer, M Sivasankar, is already in remanded judicial custody in relation with the case. Raveendran was summoned on the basis of Sivasankar’s statement, as disclosed by a senior official of the multi-agency probe team, requesting anonymity.
Last week, the CM had tried to vouch for him, saying he was not able to attend the questioning due to ill-health. He said the Central agencies can’t take any action against him as “he holds a good track record”. He had criticised the agencies, alleging that they were just fulfilling orders as dictated by their masters in Delhi.
The gold smuggling racket was unfurled on July 5 after the seizure of 30 kgs of the metal from a consignment addressed to the United Arab Emirates consulate in the state Capital. A multi-agency team lead by the National Investigation Agency is investigating the case and 34 people have been arrested so far.