The Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau (VACB) has arraigned the former chairman of Kerala Tourism Development Corporation (KTDC) Cheriyan Philip; the former KTDC managing director K.G. Mohanlal; and his predecessor, Gunavardhan; as prime accused in a case relating to “illegal appointments” in the Corporation during 2006-08.
In its First Information Report (FIR) filed in the court of the Vigilance Inquiry Commissioner and Special Judge here this week, the agency has accused them of criminal conspiracy and corruption under Sections 120 (B) and Sections 13 (1) (d) and 13 (2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act respectively.
It said its inquiry revealed, on the face of it, that the accused as public servants had abused their official positions, violated judgments of the High Court and the Supreme Court, various Government Orders, KTDC service rules and KTDC Recruitment Staff Pattern and Promotion Policy by “giving the appointments through illegal means”.
In one case, a “non qualified person” was appointed electrician. In another, the KTDC contracted the personal driver of an accused at a time when drivers were in excess due to lack of vehicles.
The VACB recommended that henceforth all appointments to the KTDC be conducted through the Public Service Commission (PSC).
The non-reporting of vacancies and illegal appointments were a major avenue for corruption in the Corporation. Employment officers had issued show cause notices to the KTDC for non-reporting of vacancies to the Employment Exchange. It said that “in addition to the illegal appointments”, 27 persons are continuing on the contract in the KTDC for more than 5 years.
The agency told the court that other ‘quick verification’ Vigilance inquiries were on against the accused regarding ‘allegations such as’ the purchase of the vessel which caused the ‘boat tragedy at Thekkady’, foreign trips, revision of rent to Karamana KTDC beer parlour, spending Rs.5.4 lakh for a beer parlour at Valanchery, free accommodation and use of facilities at Lake Palace and Arya Nivas, Thekady, in 2008 for the ‘relatives of A2 (Cherian Philip)’, conversion of Yatri Nivas units into Easy Tamarind Hotels without proper study causing loss of lakhs of rupees to the public exchequer and appointment of persons on daily wages/contract.
The VACB has said that the continuation of Mr. Mohanlal, currently managing director of the KSRTC, and Mr. Gunavardanan, currently Information Commissioner, in public service will “adversely affect the free and fair investigation of the case” and hence they be removed from the posts till the charge-sheet in the case was filed. Dy. SP N. Nandanan Pillai conducted the inquiry.