Swapna Suresh, prime accused in the Kerala gold smuggling case, has given a statement to the Enforcement Directorate (ED), alleging that the Assembly Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan had tried to befriend her "for some personal dirty intentions". The Speaker rejected the allegations made in a document submitted by the ED in the Kerala High Court, alleging that "fake propaganda" is unleashed against the Left organisations and its leaders.
"Apart from Sreeramakrishnan's investments in the Middle East College in Oman, as far as I know the flat at Marutham, Pettah belongs to Sreeramakrishnan. But, it is in the name of another person and he told me about the real ownership of the flat to make me feel safe as he used to call me there for some personal dirty intentions", Suresh is quoted as saying in a deposition made before the ED officials probing the case.
She made the statement in response to a question whether the Speaker has any investment other than Middle East College in Oman. In her statements given to the ED officials, Suresh stated that Sreeramakrishnan had called her to the flat in Marutham apartment in Pettah twice and told her that it was his "hideout".
"I went there to meet him along with Sarith (another key accused in the gold smuggling case). However, as I did not agree to his personal interests, the role offered to me in the Middle East college was also dropped," the statement said quoting Suresh. Suresh, a former employee of the UAE consulate in Thiruvananthapuram, claimed that the Speaker kept trying to get close to her as he was in need of the help of the Consul General for his personal affairs in UAE.
The deposition containing Suresh's statement was submitted last week as an additional document as part of the petition filed by the ED in the high court seeking to quash the FIR registered against it by the state police. The FIR was registered for allegedly forcing Suresh to give statements against Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.
Sreeramakrishnan alleged that the ED was engaged in "character assassination" by creating false statements against the government, the CM and the Speaker. He also said the people will clearly understand the bid by the central agencies to tarnish their image during the time of elections.
Meanwhile, Union Minister and BJP leader Smriti Irani, who was campaigning in the Kerala elections, said "the submissions made by the ED are startling." Noting that the state of Kerala is always known for ensuring dignity of women, Irani asked whether the leadership of the Left parties were in the know of their morally corrupt legislative leader. According to the first depositions submitted in the high court by the ED on March 23, both Suresh and Sarith have claimed before the investigating officials that Sreeramakrishnan had made investment in Middle East College in Oman and handed over currency bundles meant for a UAE consulate official.
Suresh and Sarith, former employees of the UAE consulate in Thiruvananthapuram, are the key accused in the case relating to the smuggling of 30 kg of gold worth Rs 14.82 crore in a diplomatic baggage and now under judicial custody since their arrest. They are also allegedly involved in the dollar case related to alleged smuggling of USD 1,90,000 (equivalent to Rs 1.30 crore) by a former UAE Consulate official to Muscat in Oman.