V. Venu, one of the senior-most bureaucrats in Kerala, has been moved out of the Tourism department after differences cropped up with the Minister P.A. Mohamed Riyas, who is also the son-in-law of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan
Venu has been serving in the tourism department for close to three decades in various positions and is credited with Kerala tourism success story. He belongs to the 1990 IAS batch and presently holds the additional chief secretary rank.
Ever since Riyas married Vijayan’s daughter Veena Vijayan in 2020, his (Riyas) stocks have been rising. At the 2021 Assembly polls, he was given a very safe seat Beypore in his hometown — Kozhikode replacing sitting legislator V.K.C. Mammed Koya.
After winning, Riyas, a first time legislator, was made a cabinet minister and the biggest surprise came when he was given the prized Public Works Department portfolio and also the Tourism portfolio.
With no administrative experience, other than heading the Youth Wing of the CPI-M, Riyas as Minister, was making waves by making surprise inspections in offices and places in his departments with the media always toeing him and giving him good coverage.
Medical professional-turned IAS, Venu along with the present Chief Executive officer of Niti Ayog — Amitabh Kant, was largely instrumental in first identifying the tourism potential of Kerala in the late nineties and since then Venu has practically held every top post in the Tourism department in the state, till he was removed the other day from the post of Tourism Secretary.
What’s more important is that the sudden shifting was effected when Vijayan left for the US for further medical treatment and will be there for three weeks.
Incidentally, Venu in the past was moved out from the Rebuild Kerala Initiative and also as Revenue Secretary, but for some reason, he continued to be in the good books of Vijayan.
Venu’s wife Saradha Muraleedharan is also a high-ranking IAS official here holding key posts.