Customs serves second notice to Kerala Speaker Sreeramkarishnan


Kerala Assembly Speaker and senior CPI-M leader P. Sreeramakrishnan was on Wednesday served notice by the Customs to appear on April 8 for questioning on his alleged role in the dollar smuggling case, as claimed by two gold smuggling case accused.

Sreeramakrishnan was earlier asked to appear before the Customs on March 12, but did not, citing his inability to do so.

The Speaker’s name cropped up in the matter last December after the statement of gold smuggling case prime accused in a court that ‘big sharks’ had a role in helping accused like Swapna Suresh suddenly surfaced. Since then, he was in a tight corner, and had to face the wrath of Opposition, which moved a motion in the house in January demanding his removal, but it was rejected.

Incidentally, a statement of Swapna Suresh recorded under Section 108 of the Customs Act, and her statement before a magistrate under Section 164 of the CrPC, filed by the Customs in the Kerala High Court early this month, revealed her close connection with the Chief Minister, his Principal Secretary and a personal staffer.

Her statement further alleged smuggling of foreign currency at the instance of the Chief Minister and the Speaker with the help of the UAE Consulate in the capital city, and the “improper and illegal activities” of three state Ministers and the Speaker. She had also alleged kickbacks were received by high-profile persons from various deals.

“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.