Investigation into letter controversy beyond purview, says Vigilance

Thiruvananthapuram Mayor Arya Rajendran and the letter circulated in her name. Photo: Manorama.

Thiruvananthapuram: The Vigilance has submitted a preliminary report, stating that since no appointments had been made in the corporation on the basis of the purported letter written by Mayor Aya Rajendran and the government had not suffered any loss, the investigation would not come under its purview.

Instead, the Vigilance recommended a police investigation. The Vigilance is winding up the inquiry into the issue on these grounds.

The alleged letter, written to the CPI(M) district secretary Anavoor Nagappan, had sought the priority list of party cadres to be appointed in temporary vacancies in the Left-ruled civic body.

The young Mayor has right from the beginning denied that she wrote, signed or sent any such letter and claimed that it appeared to be "edited". She has also said that she suspects it to be politically motivated and also brushed aside demands for her resignation by the opposition Congress and BJP.

Not looking into complaints of irregular appointments
The Vigilance is bringing the curtain down on the inquiry without looking into complaints of irregular appointments in the previous years.

The preliminary report also says that the original letter could not be traced and that the Mayor had made a statement saying that she had not written such a letter. It also says that on the day the letter was signed, the Mayor was not in the city.

Only if the original letter is found and the signature on it is verified as authentic will the issue come under the Prevention of Corruption Act and the investigation sustain legally, the report is known to have said.

The report prepared by the Special Investigation Unit will be handed over to Vigilance Director Manoj Abraham and the High Court soon.

The details in the Vigilance’s preliminary report are the same as those in the preliminary report of the Special Branch. The investigation by the Special Branch is ongoing.

Although the complaint submitted to the Vigilance Director had asked for an investigation also into the irregularities in the appointments done in the previous years, no inquiry was conducted on that aspect.

The complainants, including former corporation councillor of the Congress, G.S. Sreekumar, had submitted the complaint to the Vigilance Director, charging that there was corruption involving crores of rupees in the incident where the Mayor had written a letter seeking a list of party workers for temporary appointments, and that in the past one year, 2,000 persons had been appointed in an out-of-the-way manner in the Thiruvananthapuram Corporation.

The Vigilance which did not take any steps initially, declared an investigation after the High Court issued notice to it.

Sluggish probe by Crime Branch
The continued investigation by the Crime Branch too is dragging.

Even 12 days after the investigation was started, no substantial progress has been made.

It has not been able to trace the provenance of the letter nor find those who had prepared it. Only recording of statements is going on.

If the original letter is not found, even the Crime Branch investigation will have to wind up without making any progress.

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