Thiruvananthapuram: Speaker P Sriramakrishnan did not take the party into confidence nor seek information from it before inaugurating the Nedumangad workshop of Sandeep Nair, one of the prime accused in the diplomatic baggage gold smuggling case, the CPM’s district unit has said.
The party feels it should exercise caution while taking Sriramakrishna’s explanation for attending the programme at face value.
Former minister and Nedumangad MLA C Divakaran were to be the chief guest at the function held on December 31, 2019. However, since the assembly was in session, he decided not to attend it. But the Speaker, the leader of the House, went and inaugurated the workshop in the afternoon.
“They put my name in the notice for the function without confirming my availability,” Divakaran said. “The Assembly was in session on that day. I did not feel I should skip it and attend the function,” he said. “I only attend functions where my presence is essential or that are important.”
The function, which was originally scheduled at 9.30 am, was held at noon for the convenience of the Speaker.
It was not just Divakaran, other CPI representatives and the CPM area secretary also stayed away from the function.
The CPM does not reject Sriramakrishnan's explanation that he attended the function only because Swapna Suresh forced him and because of his friendship with her. Sriramakrishnan said he has known Swapna since the days she was an employee of the UAE consulate in Thiruvananthapuram.
Swapna Suresh is the second accused in the gold smuggling case. She and Sandeep Nair tried to flee after the case came to light. They were on the run from July 5 to July 11, when they were arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in Bengaluru. They were then brought back to Kochi and are currently in NIA’s custody.
The party believes that this was just a friendship they had forged in their official capacity. But it is also of the opinion that when the Assembly was in session, the Speaker could have avoided the function 15 km away.
The state leadership sought details from the district unit when the controversy escalated.