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What Swapna told ED: Speaker Sreeramakrishnan used to call me to flat with dirty intentions

The CM too has been saying that the national agencies are targeting his government and hampering development in the state.

Published: 28th March 2021 04:34 AM  |   Last Updated: 28th March 2021 04:34 AM   |  A+A-

Swapna Suresh

Swapna Suresh (File photo | Express)

Express News Service

KOCHI: Gold smuggling accused Swapna Suresh has told the Enforcement Directorate that Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan tried to cozy up to her with “dirty” intentions, according to a document submitted by the agency in the Kerala High Court. She said Sreeramakrishnan used to call her to a flat at Pettah in Thiruvananthapuram, which according to her belonged to him but was in the name of someone else, and told her about its real ownership to make her feel safe.

The deposition was submitted as an additional document, a copy of which is with TNIE, as part of the petition filed by the ED with the court seeking to quash the state Crime Branch case registered to investigate whether Swapna was forced to give a statement against Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

Swapna gave the statement before the ED Deputy Director, Kochi, on December 16, 2020, at Vanitha Jail in Attakulangara, Thiruvananthapuram. “He told me about the flat’s real ownership to convince me to feel safe as he used to call me there with some personal dirty intentions,” she is quoted as saying in the deposition. She said when she did not agree, he refused to give the job he had offered her at Middle East College, Oman, in which he allegedly has an investment. When the ED asked whether Sreeramakrishnan had any investment other than in the Oman-based college, Swapna replied as far as she knew, the flat at Marutham Apartment in Pettah too belonged to him, but it was in the name of some other person.

The revelation comes at a time when the LDF government has been trying hard to push the central agencies probing the gold smuggling and related cases on the back foot using various means. Sreeramakrishnan had always maintained that the agencies have been acting with an ulterior political motive. Recently, after it came out that Swapna had told the agency that the Speaker had planned to set up a branch of the Oman-based Middle East College in Sharjah, Sreeramakrishnan had dismissed the claims and said the statements were “factually wrong and absurd”. The CM too has been saying that the national agencies are targeting his government and hampering development in the state.

According to the document, Swapna told the agency: “Sreeramakrishnan had called me to the flat in Marutham apartment and told me that it was his ‘hideout’. I went there along with Sarith (another accused in the gold smuggling case) to meet him. However, as I didn’t agree to his ‘personal interests’, the role offered to me in the Middle East college was also cancelled.” 

Speaker said he does not do anything for free usually: Swapna in deposition

Swapna said the speaker always kept trying to get close to her as he needed the help of consul-general for his personal affairs in the UAE. Swapna claimed to have also witnessed the speaker handing over a bag containing currency notes to Sarith at his apartment. Before this incident, Sarith and Sandeep (another accused) wanted the speaker to inaugurate Sandeep’s vehicle engine decarbonisation unit --- Carbon Doctor --- and she had called him and requested the same, she has told the agency.

P Sreeramakrishnan

After the speaker told her that he does not do anything for free usually, Swapna told Sarith and Sandeep to go and meet Sreeramakrishnan personally and invite him, she said in the deposition.

“Sarith and Sandeep went to Sreeramakrishnan’s office with their request along with an ‘expensive watch’. Speaker accepted their invitation to inaugurate Sandeep’s new venture. It is how Sreeramakrishnan got close to Sarith and Sandeep.

Sreeramakrishnan also told Sivasankar (the IAS officer who was principal secretary to the Chief Minister and an accused in the gold smuggling case) to promote Sandeep’s Carbon Doctor through Kerala Startup Mission,” Swapna is quoted to have said in her deposition. Later, Sivasankar and Sreeramakrishnan discussed possible verticals and decided that through the Startup Mission, Carbon Doctor can be registered, she said.

They wanted to decarbonise some KSRTC buses initially for free to provide a path for the unit to get into the government territory and later the contract could be awarded to it for the entire state, she said. Regarding her acquaintance and dealings with Sreeramakrishnan, Swapna deposed that she met him for the first time at one of the functions of the UAE Consulate,Thiruvananthapuram. “He took my mobile number and used to send WhatsApp messages and call me up frequently.

On several occasions, he invited me to his official residence as well,” Swapna is quoted to have told the ED. She said: “He mentioned that his tenure is only for a short period within which he would like to make some savings and he requested me to tell the consul-general the same. I had conveyed this message of Sreeramakrishnan to the consul-general and they got connected.” Sivasankar’s team in the CM’s office was aware of all illegal acts done in the UAE Consulate, Thiruvananthapuram, she said.

“Sivasankar once told me that whatever done by him was with the knowledge and support of Raveendran and the CM himself. They were instrumental also in allotting major projects of the state government under different departments to the Uralungal Labor Contract Society without tenders and they were getting huge kickbacks for this act through various benami names,” Swapna is quoted to have said in her deposition.



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