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Saturday, February 29, 2020


An upright officer pays the price


The CM ends up as the biggest loser
M.RAJASEKHARA PANICKER | Issue Dated: October 14, 2007
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An upright officer pays the price The crusade against the land mafia in Idukki district came to an abrupt end when the LDF Government shifted District Collector Raju Narayanaswamy from Idukki to Pathanamthitta district. A Special Task Force was formed comprising Suresh Kumar and DIG Rishiraj Singh, who, along with the District Collector went about pulling down unauthorised construction at the Munnar hill resorts. After Narayanaswamy was transferred, V.S. Achuthanandan, the Chief Minister, said, "We are not belittling the services of Narayanaswamy in the Munnar eviction drive. But as District Collector, many of his actions were not satisfactory to the LDF." Quoting China's Deng Xiaoping, he said, "It doesn't matter if the cat is black or white, so far as it catches mice. These cats are smart enough to catch small mice. The big ones have already been caught.’’

Trouble began when the STF demolished a portion of the CPI office that had encroached upon a neighbouring property in Munnar. Since then, the CPI has been causing trouble for the cheif minister. With silent but visible support of detractors in the CPM, the CPI succeeded in immobilising the thrust of the eviction drive. First Suresh Kumar had to bow out citing rain and illness and then Rishiraj Singh also had to go on leave. Narayanaswamy was the last man remaining, waging a losing battle against the mafia.

The latest provocation came when Narayanaswamy filed a case against Kerala Congress (Joseph) alleging forgery and cheating in a land deal in Munnar that caused T.U. Kuruvila to quit as Public Works Minister. The action against Narayanaswamy took place a day after he asked the police to register a case against Joseph for illegal possession of tribal land by the Gandhi Study Centre, headed by him. Many alleged that the CM took this step under pressure from the Kerala Congress. But Joseph kept his cool. "Narayanaswamy had called me and requested for a transfer,’’ he said. "A blatant lie," retorted Narayanaswamy. "I never asked Joseph for a transfer. Narayanaswamy is now contemplating legal action against Joseph for alleging that the Kerala High Court had ordered for eviction of encroachment on Adivasi land and Narayanaswamy filed an affidavit in the court without carrying out the eviction.

An intellectual in the CPM recently said "Don’t make V.S. a godman." That was when V.S. was waging a single-handed battle against all odds and people looked up at him as a beacon of hope. But with this move, he has ruined his image, ending up as the biggest loser in the whole affair.
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Issue Dated: Feb 5, 2017