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Gold smuggling case: Amid Oppn allegation, Kerala Speaker says ready to provide info to probe agency

Last week, statements of Swapna Suresh and P S Sarith, accused in the case, were recorded under Section 164 of CrPC before a magistrate court in Kochi in connection with the Customs investigation into the matter.

Written by Shaju Philip | Thiruvananthapuram | Updated: December 11, 2020 9:14:30 am
Kerala Assembly Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan

A day after the Opposition alleged that the smuggling of gold through the diplomatic channel got his backing, Kerala Assembly Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan on Thursday said he was ready to provide whatever information the investigating agency wanted from him.

Last week, statements of Swapna Suresh and P S Sarith, accused in the case, were recorded under Section 164 of CrPC before a magistrate court in Kochi in connection with the Customs investigation into the matter.

Subsequently, Leader of Opposition in Assembly Ramesh Chennithala alleged that a person holding a Constitutional post had helped the smuggling racket. BJP state president K Surendran went a step further, alleging that the Assembly Speaker and a few ministers backed the smugglers.

Also Read| Kerala gold smuggling case: Voice clip triggers political storm

Responding to the allegation, the Speaker told the media, “I haven’t travelled along with the accused in the gold smuggling case. I haven’t met them abroad. All my overseas trips have been as per the law after obtaining mandatory sanction.’’

“I understand that this issue is before the investigating agency. So, I don’t want to disclose anything. Whatever things the investigating agency wants to know from me, I am ready to provide it…” he added. The CPM leader said he knew Swapna as executive secretary of the UAE Consulate, but did not know much about her.

Referring to the Opposition attack on the post of Speaker, Sreeramakrishnan said he does not hold the view that the Speaker is above criticism.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s additional private secretary and long-term associate C M Raveendran did not appear before the Enforcement Directorate for the third time on Thursday. Raveendran was hospitalised on Wednesday, a day before he was to appear before the agency in connection with a money laundering case related to the smuggling matter.

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