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Ramachandran submits resignation

K.K. Ramachandran

K.K. Ramachandran  

Special Correspondent

Chandy to consult AICC, Chennithala and Antony before taking final decision

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: K.K. Ramachandran has resigned as Health Minister on Friday. Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said he would decide on accepting the resignation later in consultation with the All India Congress Committee (AICC), Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president Ramesh Chennithala, Congress Working Committee member A.K. Antony and other colleagues.

The Minister submitted his resignation in the afternoon after an Opposition television channel broadcast an audio allegedly of the Minister calling up the Wayanad District Medical Officer N.R. Ravi and expressing his displeasure over Dr. Ravi's statement before the Lok Ayukta. (DYFI and DIC(K) activists staged demonstrations against him and barged into the Secretariat in the morning).

The Chief Minister said he had asked the Minister to remove his Additional Private Secretary P. Radhakrishnan on Thursday itself on the suspicion that he had threatened Dr. Ravi over phone.

Mr. Chandy said he had conducted inquiries through Inspector General (South) T.P. Senkumar on the Lok Ayukta's communication to him that complainants and witnesses in the case against the Minister before the Ayukta had been threatened. The allegation that the Minister had threatened them had not been substantiated in the inquiry. However, there was circumstantial evidence against Mr. Radhakrishnan though his guilt was not established.

Thiruvananthapuram Ayurveda College Principal Vasudevan Namboodiri, one of the witnesses referred to by the Ayukta, had told Mr. Senkumar that nobody had threatened him after he had given a statement before the investigating officer of the Ayukta. The Chief Minister said the media had mixed up earlier incident in which the Minister had cautioned Mr. Namboodiri for taking a stand against the Government policy. He had not been called to the Minister's office as alleged, but Mr. Namboodiri had gone to the Minister's office to thank him for transferring him back to Thiruvananthapuram.

Mr. Chandy said that he had also inquired about the allegation that Devaswom Minister K.C. Venugopal had called the Sabarimala Tantri and instructed him to add a person to the shortlist for appointment of Melsanthi in the temple. The Tantri was not sure who had called him though the person identified himself as K.C. Venugopal.

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