Kerala job scam worsens; CPI feels the heat

via VR Jayaraj | Kochi - Daily Pioneer published on December 7, 2010

The CPI, second largest constituent of Kerala’s ruling LDF, is finding itself in deep trouble over the job scam that broke out in the State Revenue Department four days ago with reports coming out that the chief middleman of the employment racket has close connections with the party’s Ministers and senior leaders.

The Opposition UDF on Tuesday demanded resignation or ouster from the Cabinet of Revenue Minister KP Rajendran of the CPI, in whose department all the fraudulent appointments using bogus documents and faked letters took place. Even the youth outfits of the LDF constituents accused the Revenue Department of lacking credibility and transparency.

Unable to withstand the barrage of charges from various quarters, CPI leaders sought to distance themselves away from Janardanan Pillai, who was said to be the one known as JP, the chief middleman of the job racket and demanded criminal procedures against him.

‘JP’ was the brother-in-law of CPI State secretariat member and former MLA KR Chandramohan. His daughter was additional private secretary to CPI’s Agriculture Minister Mullakkara Ratnakaran and his son-in-law was additional PS to the party’s Forest Minister Benoy Viswam.

Chandramohan said he had no connections with ‘JP’ for the past 23 years while Benoy Viswam called “JP” a “thief” who deserted his wife and daughter more than two decades ago. However, critics interpreted these statements as part of the CPI’s face-saving efforts while an LDF meet called for unbiased action against the culprits behind the scam.

As the scam became a complex issue in Kerala, Abhilash Pillai, key accused in the case, and his cousin Sooraj Krishna who had obtained a job in the Revenue Department fraudulently, surrendered before the Ernakulam Chief Judicial Magistrate Court in Kochi. Pillai, accused of arranging appointments in Government jobs by receiving huge sums of money, said he had several revelations to make but the time for that had not yet come.

The police had earlier arrested A Jyothi from Anchal in Kollam, a woman who had earned a job through Pillai, and her father Krishnankutty Chettiyar who had given Rs 23 lakh to Pillai and others for obtaining Government jobs for his three children. Eight persons are said to have got jobs through the racket in the Revenue Department offices in Wayanad.

The recruitment scam led to mass transfers of employees at the District Collectorate of Wayanad. The Government on Tuesday transferred Wayanad District Collector T Bhaskaran for his lapses in identifying the fraud in the offices in his charge. Six officials in section at the Collectorate in charge of appointments were also transferred.

The Congress-led Opposition UDF demanded the resignation of Revenue Minister Rajendran in connection with the job scam. UDF convener PP Thankachan told newsmen that Chief Minister VS Achuthanandan should demand the Minister’s resignation if he was not prepared to quit on his own.

The BJP demanded the resignation of Rajendran and an investigation by a Central agency into the recruitment scam. Even AIYF, the youth outfit of the CPI, demanded a CBI probe into the scam. RYF, the youth outfit of LDF partner RSP, said the functioning of the Revenue Department was not transparent.

At the same time, the Home Department constituted special investigation teams to probe the recruitment scam. The teams would be based in Thiruvananthapuram and Kollam, to where most of the middlemen of the racket and those who had obtained jobs belonged, and their main mission would be to help the Wayanad Police who were probing the scam. ADGP Vincent M Paul would coordinate the investigations.

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