Kerala Assembly Speaker to be questioned in dollar smuggling case
Thiruvananthapuram, Jan 29 (IANS) Customs officials are preparing to question Kerala Assembly Speaker P. Sreeramakrishnan by next week in the dollar smuggling case, according to informed sources.
The sources revealed that the Speaker will be questioned unofficially without serving a notice and the Customs Department has received a legal opinion in this regard.
During their appearance before the the Department, the two accused in the gold and dollar smuggling case, Swapna Prabha Suresh and P.S. Sarith, said that Sreeramakrishnan is also involved.
They have also given written statements before the Department that the smuggled dollars were used to buy stakes in an educational institution in Oman.
The Customs officials have also interrogated Naz Abdulla, a close associate of the Speaker based on the information shared by Swapna and Sarith that Sreeramakrishnan was using a SIM card taken in Abdulla’s name.
Abdulla is also the director the educational institution in Oman where the Speaker has allegedly invested.
The informed sources further revealed that the SIM card ceased to function after the smuggling case came to light.
If evidences are found against the Speaker after the unofficial questioning, the Customs Department will move ahead with further actions, the sources added.
After being served a notice by the Customs Department, K. Ayyappan, Assistant Private Secretary of the Speaker, failed to appear before the officers for three times in a row citing various reasons.
In response, the Opposition has levelled allegations that the Speaker was protecting Ayyappan to cover up things.
Indian Union Muslim League legislator M.Ummer had submitted a no-trust motion against the Speaker and there were heated discussions in the Assembly on how Sreeramakrishnan had sacrificed the sanctity of the position by indulging in such matters.
With the Speaker being questioned in the run up to the Assembly polls likely to be held in mid-April, the Left democratic front will have several questions to answer to the general public as Sreeramakrishnan was a former National president of the Youth Wing of the CPM, the DYFI and a party state committee member.