KOLLAM: The state government on Wednesday removed the managing director of Kerala State Cashew Development Corporation (KSCDC), K A Ratheesh, following a High Court order for a CBI probe into the corruption allegations in the public sector unit. Ratheesh has been made the managing director of a training institute under the Kerala Institute for Entrepreneurship Development (KIED), while the finance manager of KSCDC Mathew Joseph will get the additional charge of managing director.
The decision was approved by Industries Minister P K Kunhalikutty and a government order will be issued on Thursday after receiving the final nod from Chief Minister Oommen Chandy.
Ratheesh told Express that he was yet to get any instruction regarding his removal. “I will obey the government decision and am ready to face any kind of probe. I have done my best to serve the corporation,” he said.
The High Court, on September 23, had ordered a CBI probe into the `1,200-cr loss suffered by the Cashew Corporation amidst allegations of corruption, nepotism, money laundering etc. INTUC state president R Chandrasekharan resigned from the post of Cashew Corporation chairman following the court order. The board members representing the CITU and AITUC had also resigned two weeks ago.
Even though there was constant pressure for the ouster of Ratheesh, he had managed to get the backing of Industry Minister P K Kunhalikkutty. There were no fewer than 12 government reports against him, including the most comprehensive one by Additional Chief Secretary K M Abraham to the High Court.
Curiously, the ousted MD, who had been first appointed to the post by the then Oommen Chandy-led UDF Government on March 3, 2005, was smart enough to weather the change in the dispensation, which enabled him to retain the high-profile job.
“During the LDF Government’s time, Cashew Minister P K Gurudasan had so much faith in him that he forwarded my complaints against the MD to the MD himself to probe. His uncanny knack to deal with both the LDF and the UDF leaders earned him their support,” said Kadakampally Manoj, corruption crusader, whose petition led to the HC ordering a CBI investigation.