Sprinkler row: Sivasankar gets reprieve as govt panel finds no ulterior motive in data transfer

Thiruvananthapuram: The second inquiry panel which looked into the Sprinkler controversy has absolved M Sivasankar, former Information Technology (IT) secretary and former Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister, of all serious charges with regard to the data transfer of COVID-19 patients.

The report prepared by the government-appointed committee led by former Law Secretary K Sashidharan Nair said that Sivasankar had no ulterior motive in signing the deal with the US-based Sprinkler company. Moreover, the deal did not go against the State's interests.

But the report concurred with the allegations that the former IT Secretary did not inform even the chief minister before entering into an agreement with Sprinkler over data transfer.

It also found true the allegation that the protection of data was not ensured before entering private details of the COVID-19 patients in the website.

The inquiry report also found fault with Sivasankar for not consulting the departments of Health, Law, Finance and Local Administration before entering into agreement with Sprinkler.

But the report said that there was no data loss as the deal was operational only for one month. By April 20, 2020, all data of COVID-10 patients were transferred to the State Data Centre run by the C-DIT.

The committee led by Sashidharan Nair was entrusted with studying the report prepared by the first-appointed expert panel, comprising former Civil Aviation Secretary Madhavan Nambiar and cyber security expert Gulshan Rai. The other members of the committee were Dr.A Vinaya Babu and Dr Sumesh Divakaran. They submitted the report on April 24.

The report came to public domain when it was tabled before the Assembly in response to questions raised by MLAs P T Thomas and P C Vishnunath.

In the reply, the government said that it was studying the report given by the inquiry committee.

The expenditure for panel

The government spent Rs. 5.27 lakh for the inquiry committee led by Sashidharan Nair. The information was given in response to a question raised in the Assembly.

Earlier, there was a controversy over the reported letter sent by Sasidharan Nair to the government, asking for a monthly honorarium of Rs 75,000 to him.  

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