The Kerala High Court on Thursday refused to grant bail to M Sivasankar, former principal secretary to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, in a money laundering case registered against him by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with its probe into the Wadakkancherry LIFE (Livelihood, Inclusion and Financial Empowerment) Mission housing project case.
A single bench of Justice A Badharudeen dismissed the bail application filed by M Sivasankar observing that he could tamper with evidence as he had influence with the ruling party and the chief minister.
“..his chance of propensity to tamper with evidence or influencing witnesses, is very much there, since the petitioner is a person having very much influence in the ruling party of Kerala, particularly with the chief minister of Kerala. In this matter, the investigation is at the initial stage. Many accused are yet to be arrested including Smt.Swapna Prabha Suresh. Why the prosecution is delaying the arrest of Swapna Prabha Suresh is also a matter of serious concern, though she had an active role in the present crime,” the court said.
The high court said that the prosecution has specific case, prima facie justified by the available records, as to Sivasankar’s involvement. It also took note of the fact that after Sivasankar was granted bail in the gold smuggling case, he was quickly reinstated to service to a pivotal post in the state ignoring his possible involvement in serious crimes.
Sivasankar had moved the high court for bail in the case after being denied relief in the case by the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) special court in Kochi on 2 March.
The PMLA special court had said that in view of the gravity of the offence and the investigation being at a preliminary stage, Sivasankar could not be released on bail.
The case involves one specific project under this scheme which is alleged to have been funded by a foreign entity in violation of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA). The issue is also being probed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).