Bribery allegation at Kerala Health Minister’s office turns murky

Thiruvananthapuram, Sep 28 (IANS) A day after Kerala Health Minister Veena George defended her personal staffer accused of taking bribe from a man for absorbing his daughter-in-law in the Health Department, the complainant on Thursday said he had informed the minister’s office about the “misdeed” but no action was taken.

Releasing pictures and messages, the complainant Haridasan said on August 17, his representative (a lawyer) had briefed the private secretary to George and his deputy of the entire sequence of events.

“My objective was to inform these officials that things are not fair at their office and to see that they look into it. But I did not get any call from the office regarding my complaint,” said Haridasan.

The complainant said he is peeved as despite bringing to it their notice, George’s high ranking officials did not take any action and had to wait till September 23 when the office registered a complaint with the police.

After the allegation surfaced on that Akhil Mathew took Rs 1 lakh from a Malappuram resident, Haridasan, whose daughter-in-law — a doctor — had applied for a job in the Health Department, Minister George said, “I was told by my private secretary about the allegation and I immediately directed him to put in a written complaint. On September 13, we got the complaint, and on September 20, I informed this to the Chief Minister. I also spoke to Akhil Mathew and he categorically denied the charges.

“On September 23, I asked my private secretary to file a complaint on behalf of my office and Akhil Mathew was also asked to file a separate complaint as his name had surfaced,” she said.

A middleman in this ‘job scam’ has been identified as Akhil Sajeev. Haridasan said that he was asked to pay Rs 5 lakh. He paid Rs 1 lakh to Mathew on March 11 and Rs 75,000 to Akhil Sajeev.

Akhil Sajeev, according to George, was a former party trade union leader and had been ousted from the party and all other posts a few years ago as “he was engaged in corrupt practices”.

Meanwhile, veteran Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala said if one now looks into all the statements made by the Minister, it’s clear that things are not straight.

“Haridasan’s complaint was kept in abeyance and Mathew’s complaint being lodged with the police itself shows that there is something to hide. She also gave a clean chit to her staff, which was not right. I do not think anything will emerge from this as the police will be unable to go forward,” said Chennithala.