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CBI seeks revocation of interim stay on Kerala Life Mission probe

01:46 AM Oct 16, 2020 | K RAVEENDRAN

Kochi: The CBI has approached the Kerala High Court, seeking revocation of the two-month interim stay granted against probing state government agency Life Mission in the gold smuggling housing scam.

The court had allowed the CBI to go ahead with the investigations against the construction companies involved in the scam, but spared the Life Mission CEO from further probe in an order that provided great relief to the Pinarayi government.

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Any probe into Life Mission could bring the Chief Minister’s Office into the scope of investigations as Pinarayi Vijayan is the chairman of Life Mission, a prestigious project for providing houses for the poor and landless.

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The court has agreed to hear the petition on Monday and decide whether to allow the CBI request.

The unexpected CBI move came even as reports suggested that the National Investigations Agency has landed evidence of some of the key gold smuggling suspects having links with underworld don Dawood Ibrahim’s gang. NIA has tracked down the Tanzanian links of two of them, Ramiz and Sharafuddin, who are suspected to have made deals with a Dawood Ibrahim man operating from that country.

The lead would come handy for the central investigators to justify the invoking of UAPA in the gold smuggling case, which had run into trouble due to lack of credible evidence that the court has been demanding.

The NIA court on Thursday granted bail to 10 suspects in the case, but refused the benefit to three others, including the two with suspected Tanzanian connection. Prime accused Swapna Suresh and Sarith withdrew their bail application as they have already been interned under the provision of Cofeposa.

Meanwhile, M Sivasankar, the former principal secretary of the chief minister, secured an order from the high court under which he will not be arrested by Enforcement Directorate, as feared by him. The court asked ED not to arrest him until October 23, by which time the investigators are expected to file a detailed report to the court.

But the court asked Sivasankar to cooperate with the ED investigations, which were going on late into the evening on Thursday. The ED is seeking greater clarifications from him on the number of trips he made to Dubai and other Gulf countries along with Swapna Suresh.

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