Thiruvananthapuram: The Space Park had wanted the consultancy services of Swapna Suresh, who was appointed through PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC), ended because she was not competent enough, according to the minutes of its review meeting held in May that have now come out. However, no action was taken on the suggestion.
It was suggested at the meeting that the responsibilities, ability and preparedness of Swapna should be reconsidered and the PWC project management unit should be shut. Suspended bureaucrat and the then IT Secretary M Shivashankar had also attended the meeting.
But not only was the decision not implemented, the consultancy was extended. The IT department terminated her services only in July after she was arrested in the gold smuggling case. The delay in action was attributed to the uncertainties caused by COVID and the appointment of a new special officer for the Space Park.
It is not clear what caused the change in the assessment of Swapna, who was appointed on the recommendation of Sivasankar, in seven months. Space Park officials told the chief secretary-level committee that they had needed a person with more engineering and space tech talent.
The question then is were the officials not aware of this when she was appointed.
According to the report of the chief secretary-level committee, her appointment contract was for six months. But, according to records, the appointment is for one year.
Space Park had first approached KPMG
Space Park had first approached KPMG for the services of a consultant, but the company did not respond, according to documents obtained through the Right to Information.
KPMG was providing services related to the documentation needs of Space Park. Yet, it is not clear why it did not respond to the two emails sent by Space Park seeking the appointment of a consultant. The PwC was approached because of the delay in KPMG’s response, according to the chief secretary-level committee’s report.