Kerala Assembly Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan on Thursday reiterated that he hasn't met any of the accused in the gold smuggling case during his foreign trips. "I haven't helped any of them, we haven't travelled together or met outside the country. All the allegations are baseless. An investigative agency is inquiring about it. So let them enquire, I will not comment anymore until they finish their investigation," the Speaker said. He had called for a press meet to clarify allegations raised against him over the construction of a hall in the Assembly.
The Speakerâ€™s clarifications come after BJP state President K Surendran on Tuesday alleged that the Speaker has some connection with the sensational gold smuggling case. It also comes on the back of a number of allegations leveled by Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala including that Speaker Sreeramakrishnan had issued a contract to Uralungal Labour Contract Cooperative Society (ULCCS), without a tender or following any procedure. The contract was given to renovate a hall in the state Assembly complex.
Chennithala alleged that in 2018 the hall was renovated by spending Rs 1.84 crore and in 2020 it was renovated again by removing all newly installed equipment. This time the expenditure came up to Rs 16.65 crore. The Congress leader alleged that both renovation contracts were given to Uralungal without following any procedures.
He also alleged that the Speaker spent money unnecessarily and accused him of corruption. He also alleged that money is being spent unnecessarily for the functioning of Sabha TV, a channel of the Assembly.
However, the Speaker strongly refuted all the allegations against him in the press meet on Thursday. Sreeramakrishnan said the cost of renovation was not Rs 16 crore, but was Rs 9 crore. He also claimed that because of him a lot of developments were brought in at the Assembly at lower rates. He said that the contract was given to Uralunkal as there was an order from the government and also they had a good track record in constructions.
He also asserted that there are no high expenditures in Sabha TV as almost all the staff there are on contract basis. Chennithala had alleged that the chief consultant of the TV channel was given a flat to stay in. The speaker said that the chief consultant was not paid with any salary.