The Customs Department probing the dollar smuggling case has issued a notice to Kerala Assembly Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan for a second time. As per the notice, the Speaker has to appear before the agency on April 8 for questioning. Sreeramakrishnan was earlier asked to appear before the Customs on March 12, but did not comply, citing his inability to do so. The dollar smuggling case pertains to the alleged smuggling of $1,90,000 (equivalent to Rs 1.30 crore) by a former finance head of the UAE Consulate in Thiruvananthapuram to Muscat in Oman.
Two key accused in the dollar smuggling and the gold smuggling case, Swapna Suresh and Sarith PS, in their statements to various central investigation agencies had made allegations against Sreeramakrishnan.
While Swapna had alleged in her statement to the Enforcement Directorate that the dollar smuggling was done at the instance of Kerala Chief Minister, Speaker and some ministers, Sarith in his statement had alleged that Speaker Sreeramakrishnan had handed him a bag containing currency to be given to ‘His Excellency’, presumably the ‘UAE Consul General’ or any official in the consulate.
However, Swapna’s statement had triggered a row after a Civil Police Officer, who was on duty while the former was interrogated, alleged that she was coerced by the ED to name the Kerala CM.
"She has stated that she is aware of all these transactions and was a witness to the same as she is well versed in the Arabic language and hence was forced to act as the translator between the above said persons and the persons of Middle East origin in all their crucial interactions. The role of the former Principal Secretary to the CM (M Sivasankar) in acting as the link between high-profile politicians of Kerala and the UAE Consulate officials as well as some others and in coordinating the illegal financial dealings under the cover of various activities and projects of the state government was also revealed by her," the statements, filed by the Customs in the court, claimed.
With IANS inputs