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Kerala Speaker rubbishes gold smuggling accused's allegations

Thiruvananthapuram, March 23 Kerala Assembly Speaker P. Sreeramakrishnan on Tuesday rubbished the reported grave allegations levelled against him ...
Kerala Speaker rubbishes gold smuggling accused's allegations

Thiruvananthapuram, March 23 Kerala Assembly Speaker P. Sreeramakrishnan on Tuesday rubbished the reported grave allegations levelled against him by two accused in the gold smuggling case.

Sreeramakrishnan, who failed to appear before the Customs on March 12 for questioning, said, in a statement, that baseless canards were being spread against him.

His response came hours after the media reported on the statement of the two prime accused in the gold smuggling case that was filed in the Kerala High Court which contained major charges against him.

Swapna Suresh, in her statement, said that Sreeramakrishnan had investment in an educational institution based in Oman and was planning to set up its campus in Sharjah too and, in fact, had started talks for it with the ruler of Sharjah, when he visited the state capital.

Accused Sarith accused him of giving a big bag of currency notes to the UAE Consul General here at a flat near the airport.

Sreeramakrishnan dismissed the charges.

"The statements that are being shown in the media are baseless and have no merit. Of late, it has become a habit of the Central agencies to release similar statements for vested political interests. I know the person who owns this educational institution, but that doesn't mean I am an investor. I have never met the UAE ruler in private, either here or abroad. We have had met only at an official banquet when he was here," he said.

"All these which are now coming out are because the elections are round the corner. I am prepared to face any probe but it should be a free and fair one. I have no interests in any of these educational ventures and I am stating all this to clear all doubts of the people," he added.

It was in December last year that it surfaced that top people had a role in helping the smuggling accused like Swapna Suresh, and Sreeramakrishnan's name was also mentioned. Since then, he had been facing flak, including from the Opposition which moved a motion demanding his removal in January, but it was rejected.

( With inputs from IANS )

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