There is a glaring omission in the charge sheet filed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on April 23 at a special court in Cochin for the Kerala LIFE Mission scam.
federal There are more than 4,000 pages of copies of the ED charge sheet, and there is no statement from Khaled Mohamed Ali Shoukry, one of the defendants named on the charge sheet. The ED said Shoukry had fled the country and the investigation into his role should be conducted abroad.
Shoukry, an Egyptian national and former treasurer of the UAE consulate in Trivandrum, is accused of using a channel to steal $190,000 from the country. The charge sheet said the money came from commissions paid to defendants, including M Sivasankar, former chief secretary to the chief minister of Kerala, and Shoukry, who awarded the contract to the company of Unitac Builders managing director Santhosh Eapen.
The case of ED
The ED revolved around the confiscation of Rs 1,00,50,000 rupees from a bank locker associated with Swapna Prabha Suresh, who was charged as number two in the money laundering case. Shoukry allegedly handed over the money to Sivasankar.
The bill states that Sivasankar received “illegal gratuities” for assisting in awarding the Wadakkanchery LIFE Mission contract sponsored by the Emirates Red Crescent to a company associated with Eapen, the fifth defendant in the case.
The ED said that Rs 6.4 million was deposited in a bank locker at the State Bank of India’s Thiruvananthapuram branch and Rs 3,650,000 was deposited in another locker at Federal Bank. Both were seized by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in gold smuggling cases in 2020. The ED viewed the payment as a kickback received by Sivasankar for helping Unitac Builders and Developers win the contract.
According to the charge sheet, there are 11 defendants in the case, with Sivasankar at the top of the list. Swapna Prabha Suresh, the lead accused in the 2020 gold smuggling and related cases, has been arraigned as the second accused.
Sarith PS, a former employee of the UAE Consulate and a close associate of Swapna, Shoukry, Sandeep Nair H, another associate of Swapna, Yedu Surendran, a partner of Eapen and Vinod PV, a partner of Sane Ventures, are the other defendants arraigned in the case , along with Unitac Builders and Developers, Sane Ventures and Isomonk Trading Company.
The charge sheet is based on statements from 32 individuals, including defendants in the ED record, which omitted the name of Shoukry as one of the lead defendants.
The charges against Sivasankar
The fee schedule further states that, as is clear from the statements of Sarith and Swapna, “Sivasankar supported their awarding of the contract for the LIFE Mission project to the Unitac builder and developer, which facilitated the UAE Consulate officials in collecting commissions, which were turned out to be Khaled Mohamed Ali Shoukry was partially exported illegally to Cairo, Egypt”.
The ED asserts that it has evidence to believe that $190,000 worth of currency was smuggled out of the country as a result of Eapen’s commission payments on the contract. It said Shoukry had asked Swapna and Sarith to receive the cash and hand it over to Sivasankar, who in turn had asked Swapna to keep it in a locker opened in the name of Swapna and his chartered accountant, P Venugopal.
According to testimony provided by Swapna to the ED, “Sivasankar considered it risky to leave the cash at home and instructed her to deposit it in the bank locker”. Venugopal, in conjunction with Swapna, opened the bank locker and followed Sivasankar’s instructions, the ED said.
According to the ED bill, Venugopal visited the locker on February 8, April 10, and June 20, 2019, and Swapna visited on August 6, October 17, 2019, and March 5, 2020. Visited it on May 22nd.
However, this part of the document sounds to contradict the allegations against Sivasankar and supports his claim in the Special Leave Petition (SLP) in the Supreme Court challenging the Kerala High Court’s rejection of his An order for bail in the case.
In the SLP, Sivasankar argued, “In two separate complaints, Rs 1,0050,000 was expected to be recovered (forfeited by the NIA) as proceeds of crime [supplementary complaint registered on 24.12.2020 in Crime No. ECIR/KCZO/31/2020 and also in the instant crime ECIR/KCZO/09/2021]”.
In the first complaint, the ED mentioned that the confiscated amount was “kickback means that M Sivasankar promoted the Life Mission project sponsored by the Emirates Red Crescent in Wadakkanchery, Thrissur and awarded contracts to Unitac Builders and Developers Private Limited and Sane Ventures , the item stops at a bank locker jointly held by Swapna Prabha Suresh and P Venugopal with SBI Trivandrum City Branch and a bank locker jointly held by Swapna Prabha Suresh with Federal Bank Statue Branch, Trivandrum cabinet”.
In the second case, the ED said it “discovered that Swapna Suresh had opened the locker to dispose of funds obtained from the proceeds of crime”.
Sivasankar further stated in his petition that “the opening of the locker on November 30, 2018 in the joint name of CPA Venugopal and the delivery of the locker key to co-accused Swapna on June 20, 2019, well before the timeline indicated in the Life Mission bribery allegations (August 2019), which had been revealed very clearly in earlier investigations by Enforcement and Customs. Investigative agencies did not find the cache The locker was operated by Venugopal after June 2019 and there is no WhatsApp chat/message or any evidence of any transaction between Venugopal and the petitioner regarding the locker after June 20, 2019”.
According to the petition, “Venugopal and Swapna jointly opened SBI’s locker on November 30, 2018, well before the alleged crimes related to Life Mission, which occurred in the second half of 2019. Venugopal operated the locker under the direction of Swapna. Lockers only available from 30th November 2018 to 20th June 2019. On 20th June 2019 the locker was emptied and the locker key was handed over to Swapna, only Swapna from 20th June 2019 She had access to a locker since August 2019 where she deposited the alleged Life Mission commission/bribe amount.”
The Supreme Court has sent notice to the ED and published his petition, which will be considered next month.
refusing bail request
Meanwhile, the ED special court rejected Sivasankar’s bail request in the LIFE Mission case on May 26 on medical grounds. The ED vehemently opposed the request, arguing that despite his presentation he continued to treat the cancer since 2005.
Last month, the Kerala High Court dismissed Sivasankar’s bail plea, acknowledging the ED’s contention that “he enjoys a lot of influence in the state’s ruling party and his relationship with the Chief Minister very closely related.”
Interestingly, the Supreme Court had asked the ED why Swapna Suresh was not arrested in this case.Apart from Sivasankar is now in jail. Eapen was released on bail after a brief remand in judicial custody.