The report of an official inquiry into the alleged murder of V. Saseendran, former company secretary of the public-sector Malabar Cements Ltd. (MCL), and his two minor sons has said that top company officials ganged up with a contractor to shunt out the honest officer, leading to the murders.
The report, submitted by Alkesh Kumar Sharma, Secretary, Industries, to the State government, made shocking revelations about the circumstances that led to the murders and the running of the company by a caucus controlled by outside forces.
On January 31, the government had ordered the inquiry “into the alleged indirect involvement of some of the staff of MCL in the death of V. Saseendran.”
The inquiry report said: “V. Saseendran was an honest officer and a sensitive person. Appointment of P. Sooryanarayanan as private secretary to him and subsequent developments led to poor relations between Saseendran and superior officers.”
“A spate of memos of charges and apparent threat of dismissal prompted Saseendran to resign from the service of the company. The prompt acceptance of resignation also points to the fact that company higher-ups were not happy with his continuance in office,” it said.
“There were allegations that Saseendran met with constant harassment and torture by some of the staff of MCL, including the Managing Director, Sundaramoorthy, and P. Sooryanarayanan at the instigation of a controversial contractor, V.M. Radhakrishnan.”
“On several occasions, Saseendran objected to the corruption going on in the company, which invited animosity of the corrupt officials and the contractor Radhakrishnan,” the report said.
“On September 4, 2010, Saseendran wrote to the Chief Minister and the Industries Minister pointing out illegal deals in the company and alleging that P. Sooryanarayanan was involved in leaking out confidential matters of the company to outsiders. The same day, Saseendran sent his resignation to the company. On September 8, 2010, he was relieved from the company. The next day, Saseendran allegedly wrote another letter to the Chief Minister withdrawing his earlier allegations and giving a clean chit to P. Sooryanaraynanan,” the report said.
“Saseendran's wife has alleged that Radhakrishnan had twice threatened to eliminate the family of Saseendran, charging that Saseendran, who was also heading the Internal Audit Department, was responsible for furnishing details to the Vigilance Department officials who were investigating corruption cases in MCL. He was removed from the position of Head of Internal Audit, a couple of months before his resignation.”
On the running of the company, the report said: “MCL needs to have sound procurement and marketing policies. Guidelines need to be formulated and strict adherence to those is required.”
“Steps should be taken to fill up senior-level vacancies in MCL by an independent agency. Posts should be advertised by the agency, interviews should held away from the MCL premises, and the whole process should be made transparent. These need to be done immediately.”
The report concluded by saying, “Out of the 17 senior managerial positions in crucial areas such as finance, production, mechanical engineering, mines, and chief chemist, 12 have been vacant for over five to 10 years. The finance portfolio is being managed by a Deputy Manager. Now almost all the divisions are headed by third-level officers. Some vested interests may have developed unholy alliances with the present functionaries and may be wary of new executives occupying senior positions.”
Keywords: Malabar Cements Ltd