Kochi, July 19 (IANS) Senior advocate M.K. Damodaran is not to take up the assignment of advisor to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, the government told the Kerala High Court on Tuesday.
This was pointed out by Ranjith Thampan, Additional Advocate General, in the Kerala High Court to a petition filed by state BJP president Kummanem Rajasekheran questioning the rationale behind Damodaran’s appointment at a time when the Advocate General, a Constitutional authority, was already there for the Chief Minister to seek legal advice from.
Damodaran’s reported appointment as the Chief Minister’s legal advisor came under heavy attack from the Congress-led United Democratic Front and the BJP, even when it was pointed out that it was an honorary post with no salary.
“My prayer in the petition was to cancel the order appointing Damodaran as the legal advisor,” said Rajasekheran to reporters.
The court took a different position and said that there is nothing that bars Damodaran from giving legal advice to the Chief Minister, and pointed out that though it has been brought to the notice that he is not taking up the post, the case will go forward. It has been posted for Thursday.
The matter erupted into a major controversy when it was known that Damodaran would be the counsel for lottery king, Santiago Martin in a case filed by the Enforcement Department. Martin has cheating cases filed against him by the state government. Damodaran was also seen appearing for quarry owners, where the state was the opposite party.
The Communist Party of India (CPI), the second biggest ally in the ruling Left Democratic Front, also was unhappy over Damodaran’s appointment. But it maintained a stoic silence knowing that any public stand taken by it on the issue would invite Vijayan’s wrath, who reigns supreme in the government.