PSC membership bribery case exposes factionalism within CPM

psc bribery
Pramod Kottoolli, Muhammad Riyas. Photo: Facebook/ pramod.kottoolli, Manorama

Kozhikode: The controversy over bribery for membership in the Public Service Commission (PSC) may have settled for the time being, but it has exposed the deep-seated factionalism within the CPM in the district. Although Pramod Kottuli, the CITU district secretary, is the lone accused in the case, it is suspected that several top leaders are involved in the scam.
According to sources, the party had conducted an inernal inquiry and the the issue was settled by repaying the entire amount to the complainant to avoid further controversy.

Pramod now maintains that he did not receive any money, and the complainant, a woman doctor, also denies paying the bribe. But the episode has given the opposition a new weapon against the LDF government.

The four-member commission appointed by the CPM district secretariat had completed its investigation before the Lok Sabha election. Sources said that Minister Mohammed Riyas' name was being drawn into the controversy as a result of the ongoing factionalism within the party.

Pramod is a member of the CPM Kozhikode town area committee and the district secretary of the CITU. As an emerging young leader from Kozhikode, he wields considerable influence among senior CPM leaders. His influence within the party led the complainant to pay Rs 22 lakh for the PSC membership, and agree to pay up to Rs 60 lakh. 

According to a PSC member, backdoor recruitments to coveted positions like PSC membership are rare. The party generally seeks to appoint qualified individuals with party support, and most of these nominees have previously held high official positions. The recruitment term is six years. A PSC member's monthly salary is around Rs 2.26 lakh, including a basic salary of Rs 70,000. Upon term completion, members receive Rs 80,000 as monthly pension.

For professionals like college teachers or doctors, becoming a PSC member is not financially beneficial unless they are above 55 years old. Government employees appointed as PSC members cannot return to service after their tenure, yet many covet the position for its prestige rather than income. Unlike other commissions, PSC members have daily responsibilities, including meetings and sittings, leading to higher expenses. However, some PSC members earn up to Rs 4 lakh monthly.

While the bribery allegations have disappeared with the withdrawal of the complaint, the CPM stand to face a fresh round of attack to be mounted by the opposition. Youth League secretary PK Firoz has already accused Minister Riyas of running a mini-cabinet out of Kozhikode. DCC president Praveen Kumar too has raised similar allegations against Riyas. Congress workers recently burned Riyas's effigy during a protest.

Although the issue was settled with party intervention, it is believed that discontented party members unhappy with Riyas's growing influence leaked the episode. This incident also highlights the persistent factionalism within the CPM in Kozhikode.

Unaware of such incident, says CPM Kozhikode secretary 
Kozhikode: Responding to the recent controversy, CPM district secretary P Mohanan stated that he is unaware of the bribery incident

Speaking to reporters, Mohanan dismissed the issue as a ruckus created by the media and political opponents aiming to target Minister Mohammed Riyas, the party, and the government. He assured that the party would strongly defend such attacks.

Mohanan emphasised that there should be no misconduct among party workers, and action is always taken when necessary. "I have no knowledge of the issue you have raised, and no explanation has been sought from anyone. If there is any allegation, it can be submitted in writing and will be verified," he said.

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