The Supreme Court issued notice on the petition filed by the Enforcement Directorate against the Kerala High Court order granting bail to suspended IAS officer M. Sivasankar, who was arrested in the gold smuggling case.
The bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan and R. Subhash Reddy issued the notice and listed the matter for hearing after six weeks.
Additional Solicitor General S.V. Raju, appearing for the ED, submitted that the High Court had wrongly granted bail, despite prima facie reasons to believe the accused was involved in the offence.
During the hearing today, ASG Raju said the High Court erred while granting bail on the ground that there was no likelihood of the accused committing the offence while on bail. He argued that Section 45(1) of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act barred the grant of bail, if there were reasons to believe the accused was guilty.
The bench questioned if the provision to Section 45 will not apply in the case as the accused was sick and the money involved was less than Rs 1 crore. ASG Raju replied that Sivasankar was faking sickness, and the amount involved was more than Rs 1 crore.
The ASG asserted that Sivasankar was involved in the conspiracy. “He (Sivasankar) spoke to the customs officers for the release of consignment,” he said.
Senior Advocate Jaideep Gupta, appearing for Sivasankar, argued that officers have not found anything against him. The ASG is making an incorrect statement that he has spoken to the customs officers, he submitted.
“But it is said in the trial court order,” Justice Bhushan said in reference to the allegation of Sivasankar speaking to customs officers.
Advocate Gupta intervened saying, “In their (ED’s) own affidavit in the High Court, they have said that he has not spoken to Customs.”
At this point, ASG Raju sought a stay of the judgement, the court refused and issued the notice. The matter will be listed next after six weeks.