Ernakulam: The former Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister M. Sivashankar who is facing money laundering charges in a corruption case linked to the State-powered LIFE Mission housing project for the homeless, was released after the Supreme Court granted him interim bail on medical grounds. A Bench of Justices A.S. Bopanna and M.M. Sundresh granted him bail for the operation of a neurological disease.
“We note that from the very medical prescription of the Government Medical College/Hospital, Ernakulam, the applicant has been advised surgery to the spine… In a matter of the present nature, where some post operative treatment is also required, we are of the opinion that the applicant be released on interim bail to avail the medical treatment for a period of two months,” the apex court ordered.
Sivashankar has been in jail since February 14 in the case. It said the period of two months would be counted from the date on which he is released. Imposing conditions on his bail, the court said that, “If released on bail, the bail is subject to the conditions that he should only go to the hospital and his home and not try to influence witnesses.”
ED strongly opposed the grant of bail to Sivashankar but the court rejected the submission presented by ED. Earlier, Mr. Sivasankar’s bail plea was rejected by the Kerala High Court, citing concerns about potentially influencing witnesses in the case.
In March 2021, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), responsible for investigating the main case, claimed that officials involved in the Kerala government’s Life Mission project received commission of approximately Rs. 4.5 crores in collaboration with counterparts from the UAE Consulate General office. According to the allegations presented by the CBI in the Supreme Court, two companies, namely Unitac and Sane Ventures, illegally diverted funds received as foreign contributions intended for constructing homes for flood victims in Wadakancherry.