Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala) [India], December 10 (ANI): Kerala Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan's office on Wednesday issued a statement refuting rumours over his alleged involvement with the accused persons in the controversial gold smuggling case.
A statement from the Kerala legislative assembly Speake's office said that the accusations made against Sreeramakrishnan were "completely baseless", and had had nothing to do with real facts.
"Such an interpretation is now coming out in the context of a case that has been under investigation by various agencies for the past five months. I would like to inform you that this has nothing to do with facts. The speculations of the media are not true. Matters related to foreign trips have already been explained," the statement quoted Sreeramakrishnan.
The Speaker's clarification comes amidst allegations that he has close connections with the accused persons in the gold smuggling case and that his foreign trips were linked to them.
In the statement, the Speaker further clarified, "Attempts are being made to create a smokescreen in connection with foreign travel. There is nothing to hide. Everything related to this has already been published in the Speaker's Facebook page."
The statement went on to emphasise that Sreeramakrishnan neither travelled with any of the accused in the gold smuggling case nor met them in any foreign countries. It added that it was not right to drag the constitutional institution into political controversy and counter-accusations.
The statement said that the Speaker visited foreign countries either as a guest invited by some organisations or to visit his siblings who live abroad.
"All legal formalities for official travel have been adopted. Only travel expenses for official purposes were met by the government. The expenses of the trip to attend programs of various organizations and cultural organizations abroad were met by them. There is no ambiguity in this either," he added.
Meanwhile, sources informed that CM Raveendran, additional private secretary of the Kerala Chief Minister, was expected to skip appearing before the Enforcement Directorate in connection with the gold smuggling case over health issues.
On Tuesday, the main accused in the case Swapna Suresh approached the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate (Economic Offences) Court, seeking a directive to the Kerala Government to provide protection to her life, alleging that she had received threats in jail.
The case, which is currently being probed by the Enforcement Directorate, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and the Customs Department, pertains to the smuggling of gold in the state through diplomatic channels.
The matter had come to light after 30 kg gold worth Rs 14.82 crore, smuggled in a diplomatic cargo, was busted by the Customs in Thiruvananthapuram on July 5. (ANI)