Suspended Director of Information and Public Relations Department and solar panel scandal accused A Firoz used his clout to favour a radical religious group, according to the officials of Home Department.
Top sources told ‘Express’ that Firoz was instrumental in revoking a ban imposed on a vernacular daily promoted by a radical group which was accused of instigating communal and divisive feelings by the State Intelligence Department.
The Intelligence Department, an year ago, had reported to the government that the daily should be removed from the list of publications eligible for government advertisements.
The report cited that the daily used to publish reports favouring communal elements of a particular religion which were against the secular culture of the country.
Following the Intelligence report, the daily was removed from the I&PRD list. However, Firoz, during his tenure as director of I&PRD, revoked the ban even after a second warning from the Intelligence Department.
The officials said Firoz held discussions in his chamber which were attended by ‘’influential’’ politicians, officials and mediapersons belonging to a particular community to revoke the ban.
I&PRD Minister K C Joseph said that the government revoked the ban in May this year after a meeting with the editor and management representatives of the daily. ‘’They informed us that they were getting advertisements from the Directorate of Advertising and Visual Publicity under the Central Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. This prompted us to revoke the ban,’’ Joseph said. Joseph also denied the allegation that Firoz influenced the government decision to revoke the ban. However, the Minister said, the government had reinstated the ban in June following another warning from the Intelligence Department. Interestingly, it was in June that Firoz’s role in the solar panel scandal emerged.
‘’The ban is based on the repeated warning of the Intelligence Department on helping a radical group. We have also asked the Intelligence Department to send their report to the DAVP,’’ the Minister said.