The Customs Department has sent another notice to Kerala Assembly Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan over the dollar smuggling case. 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 High Court.
According to reports, the Speaker will appear for questioning on the matter. While the agencies, including the Enforcement Directorate, had sent letters for his appearance, he had avoided them citing that he assembly duties and then election responsibilities. He had written to the agencies to defer the questioning to a later date preferably after the elections. Moreover, the party leadership had also asked the MLA to wait until the elections, since appearing during the campaigning might affect the party’s prospects.
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. Moreover, in the ED’s submission in Court, Swapna said that Sreeramakrishnan had called her to his flat “for some personal dirty intentions”. According to Swapna, Sreeramakrishnan had told her that the flat in Chakka was his hideout and that she had not gone alone despite several calls from the Speaker.
“Apart from Sreeramakrishnan’s investments in the Middle East College, Oman, as far as I know, the flat at Marutham, Pettah, belongs to him. However, it is in the name of some other person and he told me about the real owner of the flat to convince me to feel safe as he used to call me there for some personal dirty intentions,” she said. She added that she was removed as the in charge of the Middle East College as she didn’t “succumb to the Speaker’s intentions”.