KSRTC driver benched pending inquiry; awaiting report for final decision, says Transport Min

KSRTC driver Yadhu. Photo: Manorama

Thiruvananthapuram: KSRTC driver HL Yadhu, who engaged in a verbal spat with the city Mayor Arya Rajendran, was asked to stay away from work on Monday by the District Transport Office. He was also asked to present himself to the DTO for inquiry. The Nemom native is an empanelled employee at the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation.

Despite the mounting pressure from the CPM, Transport Minister KB Ganesh Kumar has refused to take action against the KSRTC driver who engaged in a verbal spat with the city Mayor Arya Rajendran and her husband and Balussery MLA Sachin Dev.

The minister said that he would wait till he receives the reports from both the police and the KSRTC vigilance department before initiating any action.

A heated exchange broke out between the mayor, her husband Sachin Dev and KSRTC driver Yadhu on Saturday night, in which they alleged the latter made lewd gestures when their private vehicle overtook the bus. The driver was arrested following Minister Ganesh Kumar's intervention and let off on bail later.

Passengers, who were travelling in the bus during the incident, have not yet filed any complaints against the driver. That seemed to have prompted the minister to seek official reports before taking any disciplinary action against the driver, sources said. “Any potential departmental action against the driver Yadhu will be contingent upon the findings of the police and vigilance reports,” the minister told Manorama Online. He added that the driver could not be hastily dismissed just because the Mayor is the complainant.

KB Ganesh Kumar, Arya Rajendran. Photo: Manorama

Prominent Left-affiliated KSRTC trade unions have also thrown their weight behind the driver. However, CPM leaders contend that this was a politically motivated attack against the mayor ahead of the local election next year.

Acting on Ganesh Kumar's directives, the KSRTC vigilance department has interviewed eyewitnesses of the incident. Statements were obtained from passengers travelling on the bus from Thrissur to Thiruvananthapuram. Their phone numbers were collected for further investigation. Additionally, the bus conductor testified in favour of the driver.

Sources said that passengers have alleged that the mayor and her team provoked the driver and disrupted their journey, resulting in them being dropped off on the highway just two kilometres shy of their destination. It was reported that MLA Sachin Dev boarded the bus and asked the passengers to deboard the vehicle. Subsequently, the police arrived at the scene and informed the passengers that the driver would be taken into custody.

TDF, a pro-Congress organisation within KSRTC, has demanded legal action against Mayor Arya Rajendran and MLA Sachin Dev. TDF working president and Kovalam MLA M Vincent condemned the incident as an unjust intimidation of a daily wage labourer.

The TDF has also threatened to launch strong protests if the driver's complaint was not addressed. The DYFI has voiced support for the mayor. Social media has become a battleground, with individuals and personalities expressing both support and opposition to the mayor.

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