He had access to State Secretariat

: The State Police Intelligence had early this month informed the Home Department that a 48-year-old man, purported to be an employee of the Tamil Nadu government, enjoyed unrestricted access to the Government Secretariat here.

Acting on a tip-off, intelligence operatives found that for the past four years, the man had based himself at Sasthamangalam in Thiruvananthapuram and described himself as the public relations officer of the State of Tamil Nadu on deputation to Kerala.

The wing also found that he had access to several officers at the decision-making level of the government in several key departments.

The man facilitated their travel to religious places of worship, hill stations, and tourist spots in Tamil Nadu possibly to create a ‘favour bank’, which he planned to or has already used for information or reciprocal favours.

(This year, he had ‘won favour’ among a section of the staff in the Secretariat by claiming to have expedited the transfer of the body of a student, whose father is a senior Secretariat employee, who died in an accident in Chennai)

The officers who accepted the hospitality of the ‘Tamil Nadu PRO’ often enjoyed free boarding at government facilities in that State.

Senior officials said so far the police had no case that the man had accessed sensitive or confidential information regarding inter-State water disputes concerning Kerala, Karnataka or Tamil Nadu.

The intelligence wing had earlier accessed the man’s photograph from his family website. He hailed from Thuckalay in Tamil Nadu and was of Malayali origin. The unit has briefed the Government Secretariat’s security wing on the man.

They have also video evidence showing this man’s ubiquitous presence at the Secretariat. He was seen close to the office of Ministers and showing his face on media during official press conferences. He easily by-passed Secretariat security and was rarely challenged by the armed guards there.

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and Home Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan had been briefed about the man sometime in the middle of April. It was the government’s prerogative to decide how it wanted to proceed on the information.

Mr. Chandy and Mr. Radhakrishnan, talking to journalists in different places in the State, said they viewed the matter seriously.

The police were verifying whether the man or his associates in the government Secretariat had violated any law, chiefly the Official Secrets Act.