A day after the state IT department employee emerged as the leading figure in the gold smuggling racket operating through the diplomatic cargo channel, the Kerala government removed senior IAS official M Sivasankar as the principal secretary of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.
The post now went to young IAS officer Mir Mohammed Ali.
Mir Mohammad has been appointed to the post of principal secretary. However, Sivasankar will continue in his post of IT Department secretary.
Both the BJP and Congress had alleged Sivasankar, in his role as IT secretary, was involved in making calls to the customs department to clear a diplomatic package that was smuggling gold. Sivasankar was accused of shielding Swapna Suresh, who is considered to be one of the “kingpins” of the syndicate involved in smuggling of gold into Thiruvananthapuram Airport.
— DC 🇮🇳 (@rinku419) July 7, 2020
The alleged involvement of Swapna Suresh, who had worked as manager with the Kerala State Information Technology Infrastructure Limited (KSITL), and her association with Sivasankar has deeply embarrassed the government, with the Opposition parties claiming that the CM’s Office (CMO) has links to the racket.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had said Swapna’s appointment was without his knowledge. On Monday, the government had sought an explanation from Sivasankar.
Sivasankar was previously criticised for his role in hiring American firm Sprinklr for analysing public data related to COVID-19.