Kerala Assembly Speaker Dismisses Resignation, Denies Link to Gold Smuggling
Kerala Assembly Speaker P Sivaramakrishnan on Thursday rejected allegations of his alleged links to the main defendant in the gold smuggling case, saying that since his hands are clean, he has no plans to resign.
He acknowledged that he knew Swapna Suresh, one of the defendants in the smuggling case, but only as an employee of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) consulate and was not aware of her past or other dealings. She denied accusations by the opposition that he made several trips with her to West Asian countries. He said he had cleared things up when the case came up four months ago and that it was unfair to do so again.
“I never made any trips with her or met her abroad. It is a fact that I met her as an employee of the consulate and attended some functions after being invited by her. Those who see negativity everywhere will suspect that it is wrong even with a handshake or a slap, ”he told a news conference.
The opposition had ridiculed him, citing an old video of the president patting Suuresh after a function.
When Customs broke the gold smuggling business in July, Suresh was working as a consultant with the appointment of a special officer at Kerala State Information Technology Infrastructure Limited.
He said he was ready for any investigation and would be happy to share the details he knew with any agency. But he admitted that he could not understand the defendant’s background and should have kept a sufficient distance. He said it was not appropriate to attack constitutional bodies on the basis of mere hearsay and speculation. He said that once he found out about her background, he never contacted her.
The opposition Congress and the BJP had raised serious charges against him before. BJP State President K Surendran had alleged that he made several trips abroad with Suresh and was aware of her activities and assisted her on several occasions.
Congress also alleged kickbacks in the assembly modification contract awarded to a labor cooperative, which is reportedly close to ruling CPI (M). It is speculated that in the confessional statement given by Swapna Suresh under section 164 of the CrPC she had mentioned the names of four VIPs. Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala said the Spokesperson’s explanation was not satisfactory.
The ruling CPI (M) has criticized the opposition for denigrating a constitutional charge based on simple hearsay.
“Both the BJP and the Congress have the same tone and tenor in Kerala. They do not even forgive the president who is above politics, “said Acting Party Secretary A Vijayaraghavan.