In his Facebook post, Mollywood director Joy Mathew says, “People can make anyone in power their commander or captain for future gains or for promoting them. On the other hand, isn’t the real hero someone who was able to prove every allegation thrown against the government?”
In Kerala’s history, one has often cited CPM leader VS Achuthananthan as the greatest Opposition Leader in the state assembly. It was mostly because he had been termed a “lone wolf” of the party, often going against their diktats to fight the government on many occasions. However, by those standards, Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala has done a far superior job than Achuthanandan, mainly because the CPM leader’s many allegations remained baseless, while Ramesh was not only able to prove his allegations but force the government to reverse their decisions, the actor-director said in his post. Here are some of the evidence to the claims mentioned in the post.
One of the earliest and most prominent events was Industries Minister EP Jayarajan appointing his sister-in-law and Kannur MP PK Sreemathi’s son Sudheer Nambiar as the Managing Director in Kerala State Industrial Enterprises. Ramesh had called it out, claiming that Sudheer was selected despite two other qualified candidates on the shortlist. Jayarajan was also accused of appointing his brother’s daughter-in-law Deepthi Nishad as the General Manager of Kerala Clays and Ceramics Products Limited (KCCPL).
Talking about the KCCPL, the same had been also under the scanner for the infamous sand mining following the 2018 floods. Ramesh had alleged that the contract for cleaning waste sand worth Crores was “illegally” awarded to KCCPL, whose chairman is CPM leader TK Govindan. The company would remove the sand for free when earlier it was done so for Rs 1,200 per tonne. Ramesh claimed that in the guises of the Disaster Management Act and awarding the contract to a PSU, the Kerala government would lose out on Crores of revenue from the sand. Following the opposition pressure, the government backed away from the decision.
Meanwhile, another two data-related issues include the Kerala police’s CIMS programme and the Sprinklr deal. The latter gained traction following the news that the Kerala government had engaged in a deal with the US-based company Sprinklr to analyse the collected data of those under coronavirus treatment. While the Opposition Leader’s allegations fell on deaf ears, following the leakage of mail correspondence between Kerala officials and the company, it seemed as if Ramesh’s claims were to the point. The Kerala police’s controversial programme to “provide services to monitor burglary, accidents, residential alarms and CCTV and take relevant action on an immediate basis” was in the thick of a CAG audit as the police force and Keltron had “arbitrarily given the contract to private company Galaxon as the authorised vendor for surveillance equipment for the project. Moreover, the CAG report said, “Contrary to reasons adduced by the state police chief to the government of Kerala justifying award of work to Keltron, in at least four instances, there was clear nexus between officers of the police department, vendors and total service provider (TSP) Keltron in fixation of prices resulting in pecuniary loss to the scheme.” The issue was brought to the fore by the Opposition Leader, and the government went back on the project.
Relating to the police, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had unsuccessfully tried to bring into effect the controversial Police Act amendment, which would have given the police and the state power to control various media and the content they publish. Large protests across the state started with Ramesh Chennithala bringing about the issue. However, the senior Congress leader’s most prominent move regarding controversial deals would the EMCC India-Kerala government deals allowing deep-sea fishing in the state. While he had initially made the allegation, the ministers including Mercykutty Amma and EP Jayarajan denied the claims saying it was baseless. They told the media that not only was Ramesh Chennithala misleading the public but that no such deals existed. However, after the senior Congress leader began submitting evidence to his claims, the government was left with no choice but to cancel the “non-existent deals”.
Other issues as mentioned by Joy Mathew in his post include the government cancelling their illegal permission to three breweries and one distillery in the state following Ramesh’s claims, including another case of illegally awarding a contract to PricewaterhouseCoopers in the E-Mobility project. Moreover, Kerala Governor Arif Muhammed Khan coming down on Education Minister KT Jaleel controversial awarding of pass-marks to students who failed BTech, the issue of a software company, which doesn’t have its own core banking software, provide the same to Kerala’s co-operative sector. Most of these came out in the open thanks to Ramesh Chennithala, and the latest in line is the issue of thousands of double votes in the state, which was confirmed by the Election Commission in front of the High Court.