Allegations of bribery have cropped up against a personal staff of Kerala Health Minister Veena George following which the opposition Congress demanded a probe into it.
Haridasan, a resident of Malappuram district on Wednesday, alleged that a personal staff member of the minister accepted Rs 1 lakh as bribe for the appointment of his daughter-in-law as a government medical officer.
He alleged that a middleman approached him, saying such appointments were being made through the minister’s office, and asked him to pay a huge amount as bribe in instalments.
A former office secretary of CITU, the trade union wing of the CPI(M), in Pathanamthitta, who allegedly acted as a middleman, also accepted a bribe for the said appointment, he claimed and added his daughter-in-law, however, didn’t get the job.
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Haridasan also released through the media some purported evidence of money transactions between him and the minister’s personal staff member.
Later in the day, he said officers of the special branch wing of the state police recorded his statement.
”They sought details from me and took my statements. I gave them all the information and shared a photocopy of the evidence I have. They are convinced,” Haridasan told the media.
Rejecting the allegations, the Health Minister’s office said a complaint has been forwarded to the DGP for a detailed inquiry into the matter.
Minister Veena George also came out strongly against it and said based on the complaint received, she sought an explanation from the accused personal staff member.
She also said she never tried to cover up the complaint when she received it.
”When I received such a complaint, as a minister, what I did first was…seek an explanation from my personal staff member against whom the charge was levelled. It was part of the investigation I conducted in my office with regard to the issue,” she told reporters in Kannur.
George said she forwarded the complaint by the Malappuram man to the police for a comprehensive probe into the matter and directed her personal staff member to lodge a police complaint in the wake of charges against him.
The truth behind the allegations has to come out, she added.
Terming the bribery charges against the health minister’s personal staff as ”serious”, the opposition Congress said corruption was thriving in all government departments in the state.
Leader of Opposition in the Assembly V D Satheesan said the allegation that a personal staff member of the minister took a bribe for the appointment was ”shocking”.
He said the complaint was raised against the minister’s personal staff member, Akhil Mathew, and a CPI(M) leader in Pathanamthitta, Akhil Sajeev.
Though the complainant had sent the complaint to the minister’s office via email on September 4 and as a registered post on September 13, it was handed over to the police only after 10 days.
”It was a grave lapse,” he said.
Was the minister not aware of anything that goes on in her office, the LoP asked and demanded that it also be investigated whether bribery was involved in other appointments made under the Health Department.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the Health Minister’s private secretary and the staff, facing allegations, himself lodged separate police complaints in this regard.
Based on Akhil Mathew’s complaint seeking a detailed probe into the charges against him, the Cantonment police here registered a case under IPC Sections 419 and 420 (cheating), he said.
”Let’s wait till the police bring out the truth based on scientific evidence,” the CM added.