Kerala govt to launch legal battle to recover Swapna’s salary

Swapna Suresh.
PwC had earlier itself informed KSITL that it would not return the salary paid to Swapna, following which the notice was sent. File Photo.

Thiruvananthapuram: The stage has been set for a legal battle to recover the salary paid to Swapna Suresh, an accused in the diplomatic gold smuggling case, while she worked as a junior consultant at the state government agency Space Park.

The Kerala State Information Technology Infrastructure Ltd. (KSITIL) had earlier sent a notice to PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), which had selected Swapna for the post, to return her salary. However, it had not responded favorably.

In its reply, PwC questioned the government over the notice sent while a case against a ban imposed on the services firm by the government was under the consideration of the court.

PwC took the stand that it would disclose its version on Swapna’s salary only when the court takes up the case. Consequently, KSITL decided launch a legal fight to recover the money.

It was on July 16, 2020 that a committee headed by the Chief Secretary had recommended a ban on PwC for appointing Swapna at Space Park.

Subsequently, the order in this regard was issued in November, three days before the term of the consultancy contract of KFON ended.

Incidentally, PwC had earlier itself informed KSITL that it would not return the salary paid to Swapna, following which the notice was sent.

After PwC appointed Swapna at Space Park – which is under KSITL – an amount of Rs 19,06,730 was transferred by the state government’s IT Department to PwC for paying salary to Swpana.

After Swapna became an accused in the gold smuggling case and terminated from her post at Space Park, the audit department filed a report which said that the managing director of KSITL should take immediate measures to recover her salary, excluding Goods and Services Tax (GST) from PwC.

This amount came to Rs 16,15,873. The report also said that in case PwC did not pay the amount, it should be recovered equally from the M Sivasankar IAS, the then IT Secretary and KSITL chairman; C Jayasankar Prasad, the then KSITL managing director and Santhosh Kurup, the special officer.

The Chief Secretary’s panel also had recommended recovery of the amount from the salaries of these officials.

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