Kochi (Kerala) [India], March 6 (ANI): Customs department on Friday served notice to Kerala Assembly Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan asking him to appear before it on March 12 in connection with the dollar smuggling case.
The Speaker has been summoned to the Kochi office of the ED.
This comes after an affidavit submitted before the Kerala High Court earlier on Friday in which Customs Commissioner (Preventive) Sumit Kumar claimed that gold smuggling scam accused Swapna Suresh had disclosed that the smuggling of foreign currency was done at the instance of Vijayan and the Assembly Speaker with the help of the UAE Consulate.
"Suresh spoke with clarity about the smuggling of foreign currency at the instance of the Chief Minister and the Speaker with the help of the Consulate. She has also clearly stated about the improper and illegal activities of three ministers of the state cabinet and the Speaker," the affidavit submitted before the High Court.
Earlier this year in January, K Ayyappan, the Assistant Private Secretary of Speaker Sreeramakrishnan was interrogated by Customs officials for nine hours in connection with the dollar smuggling case.
The case came to light during the investigation of the Kerala gold smuggling case, which is currently being probed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA), the Enforcement Directorate (ED), and the Customs department.
The matter, which pertains to the smuggling of gold in the state through diplomatic channels, had come to light after 30 kg gold worth Rs 14.82 crore smuggled in a consignment camouflaged as diplomatic baggage was busted by the Customs in Thiruvananthapuram on July 5, 2020.
The Vijayan-led LDF government in the state has been facing political heat in connection with the case. This comes ahead of Assembly polls in Kerala.
The Congress party sought the chief minister's removal for his alleged involvement in the gold smuggling case. After four hours of heated debate on January 21, the State Assembly rejected this motion following which the opposition staged a walkout.
Meanwhile, the Left Democratic Front (LDF) convenor and acting CPI (M) state secretary A Vijayaraghavan on Friday said that the alliance will march to the Customs offices in Thiruvananthapuram, Kozhikode and Kochi on Saturday "in protest against the nefarious design by Customs department to defame LDF government and Kerala Chief Minister."
"The Customs has taken over the political campaign of the BJP and the UDF. This repugnant move is being made by the Customs after the realisation that LDF cannot be defeated politically," Vijayaraghavan said,
Also, a statement issued by the Communist Party of India (Maoist) said that the ED, Customs and CBI are writing statements and affidavits in the courts on the baseless allegations raised by the BJP and the Congress in the recent past.
On Thursday chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan alleged the Model Code of Conduct was violated by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman during her visit to Kerala and she is "attempting to attack" his government by using the Enforcement Directorate (ED). (ANI)