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Former Kerala CM's Principal Secretary Granted Interim Bail on Medical Grounds by Supreme Court in FCRA Violation Case [Read Order]

By LAWSTREET NEWS NETWORK      03 August, 2023 06:17 PM      0 Comments
Former Kerala CM's Principal Secretary Granted Interim Bail on Medical Grounds by Supreme Court in FCRA Violation Case

The Supreme Court on Wednesday granted interim bail to M Sivasankar, former principal secretary to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, on medical grounds in a case of alleged violation of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act.

A bench of Justices A S Bopanna and M M Sundresh granted relief to the former IAS officer for two months to undergo treatment related to spine surgery, relying upon the medical prescription of the Government Medical College, Ernakulam.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre and ED, opposed the bail and submitted that Sivasankar is close to a very high constitutional functionary and could be treated during the custody.

“Solicitor General would submit that even in that circumstance, the applicant be retained in custody and the respondents be directed to provide treatment in the facility chosen by the respondent. However, in a matter of the present nature, where some post-operative treatment is also required, we are of the opinion that the applicant be released on interim bail to avail the medical treatment for a period of two months,” the bench said.

The Kerala High Court on April 13 denied bail to Sivasankar, noting that he may tamper with evidence as he had influence with the ruling party and the CM.

In its order, thr bench directed that Sivasankar would not try to contact any witness during this period and would not go to any other place except in the vicinity of his residence and the hospital.

“It is made clear that the applicant shall not misuse the liberty to interfere in the course of justice or make an attempt to contact any witnesses. The applicant shall not go to any other place except the vicinity of the hospital and the vicinity of his residence," the bench said, ordering the process to release him should be completed forthwith.

The Enforcement Directorate had arrested Sivasankar in February, 2023 in connection with its money laundering probe into the state government’s LIFE Mission housing project.

The action against him came after the CBI lodged an FIR alleging that the project was funded by a foreign entity in violation of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA). The scam was unearthed as an offshoot of the gold smuggling case related to diplomatic cargo addressed to the UAE consulate in Kerala.

It was alleged that under the project, the UAE Red Crescent, affiliated with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, agreed to provide 10 million UAE dirhams for constructing housing units for flood victims and a health centre. The contract for the construction was awarded to Unitac Builders and Sane Ventures.

It has been alleged that Unitac builders gave kickbacks to Sivasankar and the Consul General of the UAE to get awarded the construction contract. This came to light when former UAE Consulate employees Swapna Suresh and Sarith PS were arrested by the ED and Customs in another case, which was related to the smuggling of gold into Kerala.

 

[Read Order]



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