KERALA

Panicker quits devaswom panel

CHANGANASSERRY Nov. 13. The NSS general secretary, P.K. Narayana Panicker, who took oath as member of the reconstituted Guruvayur Devaswom Board managing committee on November 11, has put in his papers `on personal reasons'. The resignation letter dated November 12 was sent to the Principal Secretary, Devaswom, today.

Though Mr Panicker has cited personal reasons for his resignation, it is believed that the unprecedented step is a fallout of the order of the Kerala High Court to the State Government to produce the report of the Vigilance inquiry into the graft charges against the former managing committee in which Mr Panicker was a member.

On Monday, the court had declined to grant a plea to restrain the six-member newly constituted committee from assuming office, but had admitted a writ petition filed by Mangat Padmanabhan Nair, member of the Kerala Kshetra Samrakshana Samithy, challenging the nomination of all six members alleging that the nominees were political appointees. Mr Panicker was the only member of the former managing committee who had been reappointed.

The then LDF Government in power had exonerated Mr Panicker of all the charges because it found that he had put in his dissenting notes on all controversial decisions taken by the committee. In fact, it was based on this fact, that he was cleared of the charges, that Mr Panicker decided to take oath on Monday.

However, with Monday's court order the issue has once again surfaced and continuing in the managing committee under a cloud would amount to unnecessarily dragging the name of the NSS into the picture, according NSS sources. Hence the resignation. Meanwhile, sources close to the leadership made it clear that this did not mean that the NSS would not have a representation in the body.

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