'Saas-bahu' puts govt in a spot
As reported by Ananthakrishnan G,TNN, 4 May 2008
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: This 'saas-bahu' saga is for real and has put Kerala’s Left government in a spot, inviting charges of promoting nepotism and also raising questions about CPM’s stand on ethics in public life.
At the centre of the storm is Kerala health minister P K Sreemathi, who has inducted her daughter-in-law Dhanya M Nair into her personal staff. This was revealed by the general administration department on an RTI query seeking details of Sreemathi’s personal staff.
The request was filed by AIADMK state secretary Sreenivasan Venugopal.
In reply, Venugopal got a list of 22 names including Dhanya, who is married to Sreemathi’s son. She had joined the staff as a clerk and was only recently promoted to the post of additional personal assistant. Her salary works out to around Rs 17,000. Dhanya would also be eligible for pension once she completes 2 years in her post.
Venugopal pointed out that Dhanya was not even in the office of personal staff but was conveniently placed in the minister’s bungalow.
Taunting CPM leaders, who a week ago had surprised industry captains by coming down harshly on ‘nokukooli’ — a term for money demanded by labourers attached to the party’s trade union without doing any work, Venugopal wondered if the present controversy did not convey a similar situation.
Sreemathi’s office has, however, defended the appointment and denied any impropriety. "Twenty-seven people can be appointed in the minister’s personal staff — 24 in office and 3 in the house. Unlike the office, those at home need to be more reliable and that is why Dhanya was chosen. In the past too, ministers have done this and there was no impropriety," said the official statement from her office, which also said that this was a "needless controversy".
LDF convener Vaikom Viswan of the CPM also saw no impropriety in it.
But the opposition Congress disagrees. "There is no practice of appointing family members in the personal staff of ministers. It raises questions of ethics and morality in public life. The minister should accept her mistake and take corrective measures instead of defending it," state Congress spokesperson M M Hassan said.
'Saas-bahu' puts govt in a spot-India-The Times of India
As reported by ENS in newindpress.com on 7 July 2008:
Vigilance sitting tight over several cases - Newindpress.com
Vigilance sitting tight over several cases
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Three months is the time specified by the state government to complete an inquiry by the Vigilance Department in a complaint.
Keeping this order (GO P 18/97/Vigi) a mute witness, the Vigilance Department has been keeping hundreds of cases in its red ribbon covered files.
A peep into the pending files at the Vigilance unearthed some shocking statistics. In January this year, there had been 72 cases and 71 Vigilance inquiries pending for more than five years.
A year ago, the respective figures were 77 and 76. The number of cases with a pendency less than five years and more than three months will be several times of this figure.
"Justice delayed is justice denied." Many of these cases involve small scale corruption charges against low ranking officials.
But, as there is no end to these cases, the employees have to live a life full of tension," said Human Rights activist Jomon Puthenpurackal who had obtained statistics from the Vigilance Department under the Right to Information Act.
The Vigilance also informed Jomon that among the 31 culprits in the 24 trap cases registered in 2007, only 8 are gazetted officers.
"This also points to the double standard of the Vigilance. The big fishes are always exempted while the smaller ones got caught," said Jomon.
In all, 126 Vigilance cases were registered in the state in 2007 of which inquiry into 13 cases had been completed. Around 100 of the 379 Vigilance inquiries ordered in 2007 had been completed.