The Kerala Assembly on Thursday rejected the resolution moved by the UDF’s M Ummer seeking the removal of Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan from his post.
Moving the resolution, Ummer said the Speaker represented the honour of the house, but the serious allegations raised against him have dented the Assembly’s reputation. He said the Speaker was facing serious allegations such as dollar smuggling and proximity to those accused in the sensational gold smuggling case.
The Speaker had admitted that he has connections with Swapna Suresh, the prime accused in gold smuggling case, he said. The Speaker’s Assistant Private Secretary was questioned by the central agencies probing the smuggling case and there were media reports that the Speaker would be questioned after the Assembly session is over, Ummer said.
Ummer added that about Rs 100 crore was spent on renovation work in the Assembly and the tenders were given to Uralungal Labour Contract Cooperative Society without proper scrutinization by the Assembly committees. He also said money was splashed on ‘Festival of Democracy’, a programme hosted by the Assembly, when the state’s finances were in the doldrums. When the resolution proceedings were on, Sreeramakrishnan was sitting among the members, while Deputy Speaker V Sasi chaired the session.
In his personal explanation, Sreeramakrishnan strongly denied the allegations. He said the resolution was based on hearsay and assumptions and hoped that this won’t set a precedent.
He said the opposition was targeting the Speaker as it could not touch the government on political matters. Quoting the Quran to flag the personal attacks against him as mere insinuations, Sreeramakrishnan said the work carried out in the Assembly was done in tune with time. He denied knowing that Uralungal had given the Assembly work to a sub-contractor and said it was Oommen Chandy who accredited Uralungal as a total solution provider when he was Chief Minister.
Sreeramakrishnan added that there were precedents of Uralungal getting work without tenders during the previous regime also. He said he had gone to inaugurate the shop of one of the accused in the good smuggling case without knowing his background and denied the allegation that he was connected to the culprits of the smuggling case.
He said the moving of the resolution was an act based on assumptions and urged the Assembly to dismiss it. Following this, the Opposition moved out of their chairs. Since the LDF enjoyed a strong majority, the resolution was declared as dismissed by the chair.