KOCHI: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Thursday is interrogating M Sivasankar, former principal secretary to the Kerala Chief Minister, for the third time as part of its probe into the gold smuggling case via the diplomatic channel.
The prime accused Swapna Suresh is also at the NIA office in Kochi after the agency received custody of her till Friday, sources told The New Indian Express.
After receiving a summons, Sivasankar arrived in a private car at the NIA office in Girinagar, Kochi, around 10.45 am. The NIA had retrieved data from the mobile phones and laptops of Swapna. This includes messages and emails sent using various apps to Sivasankar and others.
The NIA is likely to have received details of communications between Sivasankar and Swapna after analysis of the retrieved data from her mobile phone and laptops, sources added.
Swapna had confessed that she was very close to Sivasankar who was like a mentor to her. The investigation had revealed that Sivasankar had helped Swapna get a job at the Space Park venture of the Kerala government. Swapna had visited Sivasankar requesting him to help her release the consignment containing 30 kg of gold when it was intercepted by the Customs at Thiruvananthapuram airport on July 5.
Earlier, the NIA had quizzed Sivasankar for nearly 25 hours at Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi. He was questioned on July 23 at the Police Club, Peroorkada, in Thiruvananthapuram, and for two days at the NIA office in Kochi on July 27 and 28.
Similarly, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) probing the money trail behind the smuggling of gold had interrogated him on three occasions. The Customs was the first agency to interrogate him at Thiruvananthapuram.
There are 30 accused persons in the case of which 25 have been arrested by the NIA. As much as 164 kg of gold was smuggled via diplomatic baggage from Dubai and Abu Dhabi since September 2019 on 21 occasions.