Kerala Assembly Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan tested positive for the novel coronavirus on Saturday. In a Facebook post, Sreeramakrishnan said that he tested positive for the virus and was under observation at his official residence in Thiruvananthapuram. He also requested all those who had come in contact with him in recent days to quarantine themselves. Customs officials had recorded the statement of the speaker in the dollar smuggling case on Friday.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and senior Congress leader Oommen Chandy also tested positive for the virus recently and have been hospitalised. On Friday, the Customs arrived at the official residence in Thiruvananthapuram to question him in connection with the dollar smuggling case. The agency had served several notices to the Speaker earlier to appear before it for questioning.
Reports said that the questioning lasted over four hours on Saturday too, but now that the Speaker has tested positive, it will be paused. An officer of the superintendent rank has been leading the interrogation. The Speaker is being interrogated based on a statement by Swapna Suresh and Sarith, two key accused persons in the gold smuggling case of July 2020, in which it was claimed that the Speaker had given them a bag containing money to be given to the UAE Consul General.
The dollar smuggling case cropped up in connection with the alleged smuggling of Rs 1.30 crore by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Consulate's former finance head in Thiruvananthapuram.
The Speaker on Friday also put out a video, rubbishing rumours about him making any suicidal attempts. He added that he was ready to appear before any investigating agency at any time. He did not consider this kind of 'toxic news being circulated' as a personal attack, since he was not affected by this, the Speaker said.
(With PTI inputs)