Supreme Court Grants Interim Medical Bail to M Sivasankar in LIFE Mission Case

LI Network

Published on: 2 August 2023 at 15:15 IST

The Supreme Court has granted interim medical bail for two months to M Sivasankar, the former Principal Secretary to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, in connection with money laundering charges filed against him in the LIFE Mission case.

The bench of Justices AS Bopanna and MM Sundresh noted that Sivasankar has been in custody for an extended period and requires medical treatment that would take some time.

During his bail period, Sivasankar is ordered not to visit any place other than his home and the hospital where he will undergo surgery and treatment for a spine ailment. The Court emphasized that the applicant must not misuse his liberty or influence any witnesses.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) had opposed Sivasankar’s release on bail, arguing for judicial custody in the hospital due to his political influence. However, the bench granted interim bail considering the lengthy incarceration faced by Sivasankar and his need for surgery.

The Supreme Court heard the appeal challenging the Kerala High Court’s decision last April, which had rejected Sivasankar’s bail plea. The High Court had expressed concerns about his influence over the State government and the Chief Minister, although it acknowledged that he may not be a flight risk.

The case involves the 2020 LIFE Mission, a housing security scheme of the Kerala government aimed at providing homes to landless and homeless residents. It came to light that a specific project under the scheme was allegedly funded by a foreign entity in violation of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA).

According to the Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR) against Sivasankar, several government officials, including him, received pecuniary advantages and illegal gratification from funds meant for flood victims in Kerala through the LIFE Mission project.

The predicate offences, as stated in the arrest order, are a first information report (FIR) registered by the Vigilance and Anti Corruption Bureau (VACB) under the Prevention of Corruption Act and another FIR registered by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for FCRA offences.

It remains to be seen how the case will progress during the two-month interim medical bail period granted by the Supreme Court.

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