Nalini Netto, an IAS officer of the 1981 batch who had been serving as the Chief Principal Secretary to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, resigned on Tuesday, citing personal reasons. At the same time, there were reports that she had differences with some of the officials appointed at the chief minister’s office.
Her resignation comes the same week when MV Jayarajan, private secretary to the CM, also resigned to take charge as CPI(M) district secretary in Kannur. Jayarajan replaces long-time district secretary P Jayarajan, who has been fielded by the party in the Vadakara Lok Sabha constituency.
Netto, who had served as Kerala’s first woman chief electoral officer for 11 years overseeing two Assembly election and a Lok Sabha polls, has held several high-profile administrative posts in successive governments in Kerala. Her cousin, Girija Vaidyanathan, is the current chief secretary in Tamil Nadu.
The IAS officer earlier served as principal secretary to the chief minister before her retirement in 2016. After she retired, she was once again brought into the administration as chief principal secretary.
Netto, while serving as transport secretary in 1999, had hit headlines after she filed a sexual harassment case against then transport minister and JD(S) leader Neelalohithadasan Nadar in the EK Nayanar government. She alleged that he harassed her when she entered his chamber in the state Assembly premises under the pretext of discussing official matters. After an FIR was registered against him, Nadar was forced to resign from the cabinet. While a First Class Magistrate in Thiruvavanthapuram initially found him guilty sentencing him to three-months imprisonment, an additional sessions court acquitted him later. An IFS officer had also filed a sexual harassment case against the same minister.