THIRUVANANTHAPURAM : Imagine a Government official working for 19 years without drawing salary and another 29 years without pension; living a life in penury and forcing his family to lead a life of hard knocks.
Thomas Cherian of Parambathur House, Mammoodu, near Changanachery, was Additional Secretary to the Government when he retired in 1985. But he did not draw his salary from 1966 to 1985. He did not even bother to claim the pension till 2009.
Even at the age of 84 he is unrelenting and seems not to be bothered by the impact the decision had on his immediate family.
His wife, Mary Cherian (79), was an employee with the Provident Fund Department.
She somehow managed to take him along despite the bitter ordeal.
Interestingly, Cherian was the person who was assigned as secretary to the Adviser when the State came under Adviser’s rule in 1965. It all started with a minor dispute with the Accountant General (AG), who pointed out that Thomas Cherian’s pay scale was Rs 250-Rs 400 when he was promoted as Superintendent in 1966. Cherian claimed that it was Rs 255- Rs 400. As the AG tried to convince him, Cherian allegedly threw the pay slip on his face and left the scene. Since August 1, 1966, he has not drawn any salary, because he considers doing so would be a disgrace.
Despite repeated queries from the AG’s office on why he was not drawing the salary, Cherian chose not to respond. K Kuruvila, a former Additional Secretary, who came to know about the plight of Cherian’s family seven years back stepped in to help them.
“All attempts by wellwishers to get access to Cherian sir turned futile as he foiled such moves,” said Kuruvila who sourced the pay slips with the help of Cherian’s wife.
As per the bills, Cherian was entitled to Rs 3 lakh as salary when he retired on 31 May, 1985.