Wednesday, Oct 01, 2014

Wife of Kerala chief secretary faces vigilance probe

Written by Shaju Philip | Thiruvananthapuram | Posted: July 10, 2014 11:25 am

The Court of Enquiry Commissioner and Special Vigilance Judge has ordered a probe against the wife of the Kerala Chief Secretary and three others on a complaint that she had evaded stamp duty on a property by selling it below the fair value fixed by the government.

Chief Secretary E K Bharth Bhooshan, who has hit headlines for locking horns with a section of IAS officials in Kerala, said the allegation was baseless. A group of people who are against some of his decisions were persistently attacking him and his family, he said.

Bhooshan had been the director-general of civil aviation before being made the Kerala chief secretary.

The vigilance court ordered the probe against Ranjana Bharath Bhooshan on Wednesday based on a complaint filed by Vidhya Sangeeth, a member of the district panchayat in Thrissur.

The complaint stemmed from the sale of 40 cents of land owned by Ranjana in Thrissur municipal corporation limits. The fair value fixed for an ar of land is Rs 24, 70,000. However, the fair value of the land owned by the chief secretary’s wife was reduced to Rs 12, 35,000 per ar, according to a special order issued by Thrissur district collector M S Jaya, also an IAS officer. A decision was taken based on a petition moved by the chief secretary’s wife.

The complainant alleged that by slashing the fair value price of the land has led to the evasion of stamp duty. The concession on fair value was given only to the land owned by the wife of the chief secretary.

The complainant said this was due to the pressure from the chief secretary. The court has listed Thrissur district collector M S Jaya as the first accused, additional district magistrate Selvaraj as the second accused. The chief secretary’s wife is the fourth accused, while the third accused in a village officer in Thrissur.

Last month, the Opposition leader V S Achuthanandan had alleged that the chief secretary had tried to cover up details regarding his assets while making mandatory statement to the government.

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