Thiruvananthapuram: Amid row over the choice of Honorary Consul, a Honorary Consulate of Sri Lanka was Wednesday declared open by Minister of State for HRD Shashi Tharoor here.
Appointment of Kerala based businessman Joemon Joseph as the Honorary Consul had triggered a row with allegations that a criminal case was pending against him.
Apparently to avoid any controversy, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and State Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala, skipped the function.
Chandy was scheduled to inaugurate the Consulate. Asked about the allegations, Tharoor said "As far I know, he (Joseph) is not convicted in any case."
However, Joseph denied the allegations and said an FIR filed against him in a police station in an bailable offence case has been stayed by the Kerala High Court.
Talking to reporters, he said he was appointed as Honorary Consul by Sri Lankan government after due clearance by the Union Government.
"Proposal to appoint me as Honorary Consul was forwarded by Sri Lanka government to Indian government. Different agencies like Central Intelligence Bureau and RAW made detailed inquiry about me and only after their clearance, I have been selected for this position," he said.
"I am 100 per cent confident that I am eligible for this position," he added.
On the functioning of the Consulate, he said it would help improve the trade, business and cultural relations between two countries.