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22 Sep 2019, Edition - 1531, Sunday

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Tamilnadu News

Honesty not best policy; top Kerala bureaucrat faces Govt wrath

Jayashankar

Kochi: Whistleblowers are running for cover as the LDF Government is crushing those bureaucrats like Raju Narayanswami for taking a tough stand against corruption.

A civil service topper, Narayanswami (51) was appointed chairman of Kochi-headquartered Coconut Development Board (CDB) on deputation in August 2018.

As directed by the CBI, he probed and unearthed corruption worth crores of rupees at the Bengaluru and Kolkata regional centres of the board.

He suspended officials in Bengaluru. One among them issued death threats to the bureaucrat who had earned name for his honesty and straightforwardness. He reported the matter to the Union Government which instead asked him to reinstate a suspended official, Swami admitted publicly very recently.

In the meantime the Kerala Government directed him to join his parent cadre in Kerala in March this year which he refused saying he had not even completed a year and the Central norms permitted him to continue for at least two years.

Narayanswami secured a stay from the High Court against the Kerala Government directive and also moved Central Administrative Tribunal. An Additional Chief Secretary level official, he told the government that it would be infructuous to revert his as the matter was before the court.

It was at this juncture that the committee headed by Kerala Chief Secretary Tom Jose that reviews the performance of civil servants found many `follies’ and recommended the Union Government to terminate his services.

A computer engineer from IIT Madras, Narayanswami was also a blue eyed official of former Chief Minister VS Achuthanandan’s three-member Munnar Mission in 2007.

He said he had been under targeted since the Munnar eviction which was opposed by the then party state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan. He said he would fight a legal battle to cleanse CDB of all the muck.

Narayanswami told The Covai Post that there was no development in his case and he had not been paid salary since March.

According to RTI activist DB Biju, it was an absurd move to consider terminating the services of an efficient official and it would not stand in a court.

Vigilance DGP Jacob Thomas was another official suspended for exposing alleged corruption of officials at the Chief Secretary level.

Besides penning a book flaying the government, Thomas had also blasted it for inefficiency.

Erstwhile Devikulam Sub-Collector Sriram Venkatraman was another official punished for removing churches set up in encroached land near Munnar.

The government allegedly tried to pour water on the report of Alappuzha District Collector Anupama who indicted the then Minister Thomas Chandy for reclaiming wetlands to lay a road to his resort in Alappuzha. Chandy was dropped from government as per CPI demand and critical observation of the High Court.

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