Thiruvananthapuram, Oct 2 (PTI) After a row broke out in Kerala over an i-phone gift, senior Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala denied claims that he was offered the largesse by Swapna Suresh, a key accused in Gold smuggling case, after he attended a function at the UAE consulate here last year.
Chennithala told reporters here that none had gifted him a mobile phone and he had in fact bought one for himself and his wife during a visit to a gulf nation.
'None has gifted me any i-phone. I have not taken any phone from anyone either. These are cheap tactics to tarnish us,' the Leader of Opposition said.
He said he had been invited by the consulate, where suresh was working earlier, for a function in which he was the chief guest and had been requested to handover mobile phones to some lucky dip winners, which he had obliged.
Chennithala also said he would initiate legal action against such reports.
The controversy erupted after contents of a petition filed by Santosh Eappen, Managing Director of Unitac Builders and Developers, which had been entrusted to build the Life Mission Project flats at Wadakkancherry, in the Kerala High Court emerged on Friday.
In the petition, Eappen had submitted that Swapna Suresh had demanded 5 i-phones from him for presenting them to the Chief Guest and other delegates of the National Day celebration of the UAE, held on December 2, last year.
'The phones were handed over to Suresh as demanded. Those phones were presented to Ramesh Chennithala, who was the chief guest and others,' it was stated.
Asked about the phone gift, Congress MP K Muraleedharan said Chennithala had himself clarified that he had not received any such present.
The UDF and Congress workers were not in such a pitiable state to accept a mobile phone from Suresh, he said.
Eappen, in the petition moved in the High court on Thursday submitted that the registration of the FIR by the CBI on the basis of the complaint by MLA Anil Akkakara was 'ultra vires' and falls outside the scope of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act as no consent was taken by the state government.
The court had on Thursday declined the state government's plea to stay the CBI probe into the Life Mission project for alleged FCRA violation and had permitted the central agency to continue with its preliminary probe.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had accused the Opposition Congress of 'creating legal entanglements' to the project, which aims to build homes for the poor and had said the FIR filed by CBI, does not have any legal standing. PTI UD ROH ROH