Leader of Opposition V.D. Satheesan on Saturday flayed the attitude of Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan and also revenue minister K. Rajan for taking vindictive action against a female state government employee working in the revenue department for the reason that she gave out files under the Right To Information with regard to the controversial tree felling order.
O.G. Salini, working as Under Secretary (revenue), came under duress by the state government as her good service entry that was given by top bureaucrat and revenue Secretary A. Jayathilak a few months ago, was cancelled last week, stating that her integrity is doubtful.
Speaking to the media, Satheesan said it’s baffling that when Vijayan speaks of respect to women and various programmes for upliftment of women, see what has happened to this government official.
“None must forget that this very same officer was given a good service entry by the top official (Jayathilak) and in a matter of weeks, the only thing that has happened was she did her duty of giving files that came through the RTI. When she did that, suddenly her integrity is being questioned and this is a shameful act done by the government and the revenue department,” said Satheesan and asked if Kerala has a Revenue Minister, as it appears that decisions are taken by officials.
The CPI in Kerala, the second biggest ally in the ruling Left government, is in a spot of bother ever since the tree felling scam to the tune of around Rs 150 crore surfaced last month.
It was the then Revenue Minister – E. Chandrasekheran of the CPI, who had issued orders for the felling of trees in Wayanad and other eight districts in October last year which said that no permission was required for felling of royal trees such as sandalwood, rosewood, teak wood, and ebony.
Incidentally, it was questions relating to this episode that Salini gave replies through the RTI that came before her, which had left the Vijayan government fuming.
However reacting to the action taken against Salini, State Revenue Minister and also CPI leader, K. Rajan said he does not know what has happened.
“Look, neither the Chief Minister nor the Minister has to see all files in the department. There are decisions that are taken by higher officials and each and every thing that happens need not be known to the Minister. Anyway I will check what Satheesan has raised,” said Rajan.
With the Kerala Assembly session all set to commence from July 22, this issue could well turn out to be one which could see the Vijayan government in the dock.