On Wednesday, 4 October, a man was arrested in connection with the bribery allegations against a personal staff member of Kerala Health Minister Veena George, police said.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had earlier said the health minister’s private secretary and staff memebers, who were facing the allegations, had themselves lodged separate police complaints in this regard.
Based on the complaint by her staffer Akhil Mathew seeking a detailed probe into the charges against him, the Cantonment police in Thiruvananthapuram registered a case under IPC Sections 419 and 420 (cheating), investigated the matter, and arrested one MK Raees of Kozhikode.
The accused, Raees, was arrested for allegedly creating a fake email related to temporary appointments in the Ayush Mission, police said.
Raees, who was arrested from Kozhikode, is also suspected of having had several monetary transactions with a former office secretary of CITU, the trade union wing of the CPI(M), who is also accused of being involved in the bribery case, police said.
It said the investigation is underway to find who else was involved in the alleged fraud that was highlighted by one Haridasan last week and had triggered a political row in the state.
Haridasan, a resident of Malappuram district had on, 27 September, alleged that a personal staff member of the minister accepted ₹1 lakh as a bribe for the appointment of his daughter-in-law as a government medical officer.
He had alleged, through the media, that a middleman approached him, saying the appointments of medical officers were being made through the minister’s office, and asked him to pay a huge amount as a bribe in instalments.
Haridasan had further alleged that a former office secretary of CITU in Pathanamthitta, who allegedly acted as a middleman, had also accepted a bribe for the said appointment.
However, his daughter-in-law did not get the job.
Terming the bribery charges against the health minister’s personal staff as “serious”, the opposition Congress had said corruption was thriving in all government departments in the state.
Health minister rejects the allegations
Rejecting the allegations, the health minister’s office earlier said a complaint has been forwarded to the DGP for a detailed inquiry into the matter.
Minister Veena George also came out strongly against it and said that based on the complaint received, she sought an explanation from the accused personal staff member.
She also said she never tried to cover up the complaint when she received it.
“When I received such a complaint, as a minister, what I did first was… seek an explanation from my personal staff member against whom the charge was levelled. It was part of the investigation I conducted in my office with regard to the issue,” she told reporters in Kannur.
(With PTI inputs)