National

‘Most wired’ CM in weird situation

Vinson Kurian Thiruvananthapuram | Updated on June 19, 2013

Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has always prided on his status as the ‘most wired’ (on the Web, that is) even while not owning a mobile phone.

His office has won even UN recognition for being most transparent; activities in his personal chamber and office at the Government Secretariat here are beamed live, 24x7.

DOORS OPEN

Doors of his office are always open to visitors and he is accessible to practically anybody. He is obsessive to a fault seeing to it that security protocols do not come in the way of daily interaction with public.

Outside the confines of office, he happens to be among the most ‘mobile’ Chief Ministers, but has been equally ridiculed for the original sin of not having a phone to call one.

He would be content with the connectivity offered by ‘satellites’ revolving around him - at least four such wielding mobile phones being the gateway to reaching out to him wherever he went.

NOT ANY MORE

Seemingly not any more, with his office and two of the ‘satellites’ getting scalded under a ‘solar flare’ in the form of a raging scam involving executors of solar panels/plants with dubious credentials.

So much so, the Chief Minister is having a rethink on his ‘unconnected’ status, and conceded as much to newspersons here the other day. He was seriously thinking in terms of going mobile soon.

Meanwhile on Wednesday, the scam claimed the first high-profile casualty in the State Government with A. Firoze, director of public relations, being placed under suspension for alleged involvement.

This happened after secretary, public relations, submitted a report to the Government on reports of Firoze’s suspected links with kingpins of the scam.

POLITICAL STORM

The scam has unleashed a massive political storm in the State after two personal staff of the Chief Minister getting the boot for alleged links with Saritha Nair, a co-accused with scam lynchpin Biju Radhakrishnan.

It has now emerged that Firoze had been a third accused in a related case of swindling an amount of Rs 40 lakh from a resident of Thiruvananthapuram.

Government would look into the circumstances under which a report with adverse references against Firoze was suppressed allegedly to clear the way for his promotion as director of the department.

This had come in for intense media scrutiny over the past few days, following which K.C. Joseph, minister for public relations, asked secretary of the department to probe Firoze’s case.

Firoze has since protested innocence and has gone on to claim that he was one of the victims of the financial fraud perpetrated by Biju Radhakrishnan and Saritha Nair.

vinson.kurian@thehindu.co.in

Published on June 19, 2013

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