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Speaker funded college in Sharjah, Swapna told ED

Deposition in plea challenging case against its officials

The registration of a criminal case against unnamed officials of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has further intensified its face-off with the LDF government with the investigation agency now making public a deposition of Swapan Suresh, the prime accused in the diplomatic channel gold smuggling case, regarding the investment of Speaker P. Sreeramakrishnan in a college in Sharjah.

The statement has been attached to a petition challenging the registration of a criminal case against unnamed ED officials in Kochi for forcing Swapna to make statements against Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

The statement was given by Swapna before the Deputy Director of Enforcement at the women’s prison at Attakulangara in Thiruvananthapuram on December 15.

Request to Sharjah ruler

Swapna had reportedly deposed that the Speaker wanted to start a branch of Middle East College in Sharjah and he had requested the Ruler of Sharjah to provide land for the construction of the college. He also told her that he had made an investment in the college.

Swapna had stated that Lafeer, an NRI from Ponnani, Malappuram district was the owner of Middle East College, Oman.

She further deposed that she was introduced to Lafeer and Kiran, a native of Thiruvananthapuram and Dean of the college, by the Speaker and M. Sivasankar, former Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister.

Business head

Mr. Sreeramakrishnan, Mr. Sivasankar, Mr. Kiran, and Mr. Lafeer wanted her to relocate to Sharjah and head their business development wing in West Asia.

The group was “dedicatedly working for the project of Middle East College in Sharjah,” she reportedly told the ED.

“As instructed by Mr. Sivasankar, I visited Oman in April 2018 to the premises and to meet Khalid, an Omani national who was also one of the directors of the college in Oman, to discuss the way forward and how to take the process further. At that time Mr. Sivasankar also came to Oman directly from France and he accompanied me during the meeting with Mr. Khalid,” Swapna had stated.

Speaker’s request

When the ED asked her how did she know that the Speaker had requested the Ruler of Sharjah to provide land for the college in Sharjah, Swapna replied that during the visit of the Ruler to Thiruvananthapuram, the Speaker had “requested an opportunity to meet him.”

“A meeting was arranged between Mr. Sreeramakrishnan and the Ruler at Leela Palace, Kovalam, and during that meeting, the Ruler had verbally agreed to provide land for the the college in Sharjah,” she had said.

The Speaker told her that on different occasions when he had visited the UAE, he had also met some higher officials in Sharjah and followed up the request for land.

She also deposed that Mr. Sivasankar had told her that Mr. Kiran and Mr. Lafeer had agreed to partner in ICT Academy to be set up in Oman as many courses of the ICT Academy were not available in Oman.

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