Thiruvananthapuram, July 16 : Principal Secretary to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, M. Sivasankar was on Thursday suspended from service over his role in the gold smuggling case that rocked the state.
A two-member committee headed by the Chief Secretary was asked to look into the allegations against Sivasankar and it had earlier in the day submitted its report to Vijayan.
"The report has been received and it has been found that there was violation of All India Service rules by him and hence he has been suspended from service and a departmental probe will also take place," said Vijayan.
Sivasankar early this week was first removed as secretary and also from the post of IT secretary after news trickled in of his closeness to the now arrested duo of Swapna Suresh and P.S. Sarith.
The gold smuggling case which has large scale ramifications across sectors first surfaced when Sarith, a former employee of the UAE consulate here was arrested by the Customs on July 5 when he was facilitating smuggling of 30 kg of gold in diplomatic baggage to Thiruvananthapuram from Dubai.
It turned murkier when the name of Swapna, a former employee of the UAE consulate here and employed with the IT department, surfaced and it turned the full circle when their links with Sivasankar were revealed.
Since July 5, the Congress and BJP were up in arms demanding sacking of Sivasankar , but Vijayan paid scant heed to that and went on to say that time has not come for such an action.
State Congress chief Mullapally Ramachandran alleged that despite Vijayan's office being the epicentre of corruption and Sivasankar's involvement with the accused, Vijayan was still defending him.
"Even the apex court has ruled that a suspension is not a punishment and despite that Vijayan was shielding him because all know how close they were for the past two decades. This gold smuggling case is not the first, when the Sprinklr issue surfaced, all saw how staunchly Sivasankar was defended. This is because Sivasankar holds the key to numerous secrets of Vijayan," said Ramachandran and added suspending Sivasankar does not mean anything and Vijayan cannot wash his hands off.
State BJP president K. Surendran said by now two key officials close to Vijayan has been booted out - Sivasankar and Arun Balachandran.
"This clearly shows the needle of suspicion is now fully on Vijayan and he should quit and face a probe. IT department comes under Vijayan and in that department numerous people were given plush jobs, violating all norms and the now booted out duo were holding sway engaging in a free for all ," said Surendran.