Even as the cry for speedy justice in the Suryanelli case has found its echo in Thursday’s Supreme Court judgment, the victim, waiting for closure for 17 long years, has been fighting another front. Her superiors in the Commercial Taxes Department, where she is a class IV employee, have implicated her in a case involving office finances.
On January 6, 2012, she was taken into custody while coming out of her house and walking towards the nearest bus stop on her way to office in Changanassery. The crime: she had not deposited in the Treasury Rs. 2,26,006 collected by her office.
The police took her to the court only in the evening and denied her a chance to get bail. She got it only after six days.
The woman was suspended from service, and strangely, kept out for nine months. Though two of her officers were named in the case, they have not been kept in judicial custody or out of service for such a long period.
In a letter to Leader of the Opposition V.S. Achuthanandan, explaining her version of the case, she said her senior officials told her on February 26, 2011, that the amounts entrusted to her on three occasions — May 21, 2010 (Rs. 60,748), December 31, 2010 (Rs. 1,09,036) and January 19, 2011 (Rs. 56,222) — had not been recorded as deposited.
She was told that she would be held responsible for it. Asked to pay the amount immediately, she used the money given to her by a German Malayali organisation, broke her deposits in the Kerala State Financial Enterprises and pawned her gold ornaments.
Following this, she was issued a memo for not paying the amount on time and a written apology was taken from her after threatening her that otherwise they would inform the police.
However, the media and women activists point to a deep hole in the story:
The Left Democratic Front government had made online submission of monthly returns and payment of taxes by e-banking compulsory in the State.
However, the Changanassery office continued issuing cash receipts. The case never mentioned about why it did so. Or why such huge amounts were entrusted to her to be carried to the treasury without providing security.
Women activists who believe that she was framed point to the timing of the case as the Soorynelli case was still pending before the Supreme Court at that time.
Implicated in case by her superiors Activists allege conspiracy
Implicated in case by her superiors
Activists allege conspiracy