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Chennithala steps up attack on LDF govt; Demands Vigilance probe into 'illegal' appointments

The Vigilance department has not taken any action on his complaints into the "illegal appointments" and if the government has nothing to hide it should give permission for the inquiry, the Leader of the Opposition in the state assembly said. "The resignation of Laby George, a fellow with the Startup Mission creates more doubts.

PTI | Thiruv | Updated: 02-08-2020 21:43 IST | Created: 02-08-2020 21:43 IST
Chennithala steps up attack on LDF govt; Demands Vigilance probe into 'illegal' appointments

Stepping up his attack on the LDF government in Kerala, senior Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala on Sunday said the resignation of a Fellow with the Startup Mission created more doubts and pressed his demand for Vigilance probe into alleged illegal appointments in the IT department. The Vigilance department has not taken any action on his complaints into the "illegal appointments" and if the government has nothing to hide it should give permission for the inquiry, the Leader of the Opposition in the state assembly said.

"The resignation of Laby George, a fellow with the Startup Mission creates more doubts. The American citizen resigned after her appointment came under scanner. It's a serious matter that a foreign citizen was appointed with a high salary in a government office," Chennithala posted in his official Facebook page. Chennithala, who had raised the issue last month alleging irregularities in her appointment with a high salary, said there was no transparency in the appointments in the IT department.

"Now it's clear that many have joined the department by submitting fake certificates and all these must come under the probe," he said in an apparent reference to the appointment of Swapna Suresh, an accused in the gold smuggling case. Startup Mission Chief Executive Officer Saji Gopinath said George has resigned from the post of fellowship.

"It's a senior fellowship post for a short period," he told PTI. When asked about Chennithala's allegation that George was anOverseas Citizen Of India (OCI) and how she was appointed as a senior fellow, Gopinath said it was allowed.

"As per conditions for OCI, only a few things are not allowed. This was allowed as per the regulations. This person was appointed as product and marketing Fellow of the Startups. She is a person with a huge amount of experience," Gopinath said.

Chennithala had on July 9 alleged a woman with Americancitizenshipwas working with the Startup Mission here while her name was in the voters' list in the US. Within days of the Congress leader raising the issue, she resigned.

On Sunday, Chennithala saida letter was given to the Chief Minister demanding inquiry into "the illegal appointments" during his tenure. "Despite two months after filing the complaint, the Vigilance Director has not taken any action into the issue.

When enquired, the director said he was waiting for the government permission. As per new anti-corruption law, consent of government or appointment authority is needed to conduct investigation against a public servant," he said. The leader of the opposition claimed the Vigilance department "has been castrated. The government is protecting the corrupt by delaying sanction for investigation." After the opposition raised allegations of illegal appointments by M Sivasankar as IT secretary, now suspended, many who got such jobs were resigning one after other, Chennithala said.

"All who committed corruption should be made accountable. Role of the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau is to conduct investigation into such cases. However, the department is unable to launch a probe. I have given two complaints as a responsible leader of the opposition. The government and chief minister are answerable for this," he said.

The state government already faced flak over the gold smuggling case accused's appointment in the IT department and she had submitted fake certificates to get the contractual job. A police inquiry is on into the matter..


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