As Lokayukta sends notice, trouble round the corner for ex-Kerala minister

The Kerala Lokayukta, after conducting a preliminary probe into the complaints in the purchases made during the Covid period in 2020 by the medical authorities led by then State Health Minister K.K. Shailaja, on Friday decided to serve a notice to her and 12 others to be present on December 8 with their replies.

The complaints came from Veena Nair, a Congress leader here and a few others who alleged that purchases for fighting Covid, especially PPE kits, were purchased at a price of Rs 1,500 per unit, which they said was much higher than the price in the open market then.

Incidentally, it was a vernacular TV channel which first came out with the details of how and what had happened when PPE kits were purchased.

And, when the Congress-led opposition raised this issue on the floor of the Assembly, state Health Minister Veena George and even Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan defended their government and dismissed the opposition allegations as “nothing but creating a political issue out of nothing”.

But the media then came out with the right to information replies and it was found out that the replies given to it did not match, forcing the complainants to approach the Lokayukta, which did a preliminary probe and then decided to send notices.

Incidentally, when Covid struck, Shailaja had won kudos for the way the pandemic was handled in the state. But, when Vijayan won the second term in office, many expected Shailaja to be again taken in the cabinet which did not happen.

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