Kerala Opposition Leader Ramesh Chennithala said on Friday, 17 July, that the opposition United Democratic Front (UDF) has served a notice for a No Confidence Motion against the Left Democratic Front (LDF) government in the Assembly.
He said that people have completely lost faith in the government and that there is widespread anger and apprehension about “corruption in the government”. He reiterated that the Chief Minister should realise the gravity of the situation, step down immediately and face a CBI enquiry.
The move comes at a time the gold smuggling case of Kerala is being investigated by the National Investigation Agency (NIA).
A day ago, CM Pinarayi Vijayan informed the media that M Sivasankar, former principal secretary of IT Department and secretary to Chief Minister’s office, was suspended from service, following a report submitted about his name cropping up in the smuggling case.
He was earlier removed from both the posts when there were allegations of his connection to one of the accused in the case.
The Opposition has been protesting against the government since the name of Sivasankar cropped up, demanding action against the IAS official as well as resignation of the Chief Minister.
On Friday, Chennithala said that “the officials of the IT department have deteriorated into a mafia, and the ministry was being treated as a gold mine. Suspending M Sivasankar is not a panacea for the ills that plague the ministry.”
He further said that all agreements signed by the IT ministry when Sivasankar was the Secretary should be scrutinised. “The Bevco App issue, appointment of PwC as consultant and violation of norms in selecting partner for e-mobility project are some of the examples of gross violations of norms by the IT department. Only a comprehensive enquiry by the CBI could unravel the gargantuan corruption in the department and ensure exemplary punishment for the culprits.”
Assigning the Chief Secretary of the state to file a report on Sivasankar was “an eye wash”, Chennithala alleged.
“The Chief Minister has been shielding his Principal Secretary when the opposition raised serious charges against him. His argument was that there was no evidence to suspend Sivasankar. Now ample evidences have surfaced that the IT fellow of the Chief Minister also had close involvement with the accused in the smuggling case,” noted Chennithala .
‘Minister Jaleel Violated Protocol’: Chennithala
When the name of KT Jaleel, Higher Education Minister, came up in the call list of one of the accused, the former showed proof of his conversation with the UAE Consul General regarding Ramzan food kits which resulted in the calls.
However, Chennithala said that it was a violation of protocols to accept kits of essential items fro the UAE Consulate. “The issue is serious. He shouldn’t have done that. How could he do that without the knowledge of Union Ministry of Foreign Affairs?”
Chennithala, who had earlier vehemently opposed conducting public exams of school students in May, also criticised the government’s decision to hold the Kerala Engineering, Architecture, Medical entrance examination (KEAM) during the pandemic. Photos of people not following physical distancing outside an entrance venue had emerged on Thursday. “Government should clarify as to who was responsible for the neglect shown towards students and parents and should bring them to book,” said Chennithala.
The UDF which has been holding many protests across the state against the government in the past few weeks would stop these till 31 July on account of the High Court order asking it, he added.
He also questioned the bail for K Padmarajan, a BJP leader who was charge-sheeted in the Palathayi child abuse case. Chennithala pointed out lapses by the police in not charging the accused with POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) Act.
(The story has been published in an arrangement with The News Minute.)