The Customs department has questioned Kerala Assembly Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan and has taken his statement about his alleged role in the dollar smuggling case. Reports point out that according to Speaker’s officer, the questioning took place on Friday night at his residence in Thiruvananthapuram.
After not showing up despite repeated summons from the department, a team led by the Custom Superintendent visited Sreeramakrishnan and took his statement. Reports suggest that the questioning went on for four hours and it is likely to continue on Sunday. The Speaker’s office confirmed the questioning earlier today.
The news broke hours after the Speaker took to social media to deny rumours of suicide and a family crisis. “It has come to a stage where I have to inform people that I am alive due to propaganda. Rumours are being spread that I committed suicide and my family has broken up. Some people may have believed such rumours. I must let you know that I am not a coward who takes refuge in suicide,” he said in a video posted on his Facebook account.
The Kerala Speaker said that he was not afraid to face any central agency. “I am willing to face any probe agency at any time. I have reiterated this in the Kerala Assembly and outside the Assembly several times,” Sreeramakrishnan said, requesting people to reject propaganda.
Two days ago, Sreeramakrishanan was to appear before Customs officials for questioning in connection to the Dollar smuggling case. However, the Assembly Speaker informed the officials that he could not show as he was unwell.
On April 1, the agency has asked him to report for questioning at their Kochi office on April 8 after the elections. While the agency had sent a notice on March 12, Sreeramakrishnan refused to cooperate. The second notice follows the submission of Swapna Suresh’s confidential statements with the Kerala High Court.
The Customs’ charge against Sreeramakrishnan includes smuggling dollars to invest money in a university abroad in his name. Swapna claimed that there were widespread irregularities concerning this development, which led the Customs to target the Speaker.