Antony did not intervene: Kannanthanam

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Special Correspondent

Former Commissioner of Entrance Examinations finally drops the `bomb'

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Former IAS Officer Alphons Kannanthanam has finally dropped the `bomb' he had been carrying for long.

Mr. Kannanthanam, then the Commissioner of Entrance Examinations, had alleged that the then Education Minister Nalakath Sooppy had asked him to substitute an income certificate to help a Muslim candidate to corner a medical seat. And much of the details about

Mr. Sooppy's offence came out subsequently. Still, it was rumoured that Mr. Kannanthanam was carrying a `bomb.'

Mr. Kannanthanam, who is now an MLA, told the House on Thursday that the `bomb' had more to it that met the eye.

He informed the Assembly, amid protests from the Opposition, that the then Chief Minister A. K. Antony had declined to intervene when he had brought the conduct of Mr. Sooppy to his notice. "I cannot do anything against a Muslim League Minister," Mr. Kannanthanam quoted Mr. Antony as having said when he represented the matter.

Mr. Kannanthanam said Mr. Sooppy had called him into an anteroom of his Chamber and asked him to substitute the income certificate. (A lower income certificate would have enabled the candidate to get admission under the quota reserved for Other Backward Classes). He had told the Minister that such an action would be a criminal offence. Mr. Sooppy then told him that none would know of that.

Mr. Kannanthanam said he had then approached Oommen Chandy (who was then United Democratic Front convener) and urged him to take up the matter with the Chief Minister. Mr. Chandy would have had done that. When he approached Mr. Antony and narrated the incident, the Chief Minister listened like `cat drinking milk.' Then he said that he could not do anything against the League Minister. Mr. Kannanthanam, who was speaking on the Kerala Professional Colleges Bill, said that the legislation would prevent people from getting admissions by paying large sums.

He said that problems arose with respect to the self-financing professional colleges during the UDF rule because the Government had not acted against those who had been taking capitation fee.

Leader of the Opposition Oommen Chandy intervened to say that Mr. Kannanthanam had met him on more than one occasion.

If he were to tell the House what had transpired during the other visits, the member would have to hide his face in shame.




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