THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala has challenged Chief Secretary Dr Vishwas Mehta to file the first case against him after the latter had come out with a controversial circular informing that criminal charges would be slapped against officials who leak files signed by the Chief Minister and the Chief Secretary to outsiders.
Chennithala demanded to know who had given the permission to come out with a circular which is against the Right to Information Act, 2005. Talking to reporters at Cantonment House here on Thursday, he also came down heavily against the LDF government's lapses in combating the pandemic.
Mehta had come out with a “confidential circular” (No.563/CS/2020/CSO) on Wednesday stating that severe disciplinary action, investigation and criminal proceedings would be initiated in all cases where officials were found to be negligent or involved directly/indirectly in leaking information to outsiders. This is seen as a breach of the RTI Act, 2005, passed by Parliament which sets out the rules and procedures regarding citizens' right to information.
“The Chief Secretary should immediately cancel this order. I will be taking legal action against the Chief Secretary. Since I have pages of several files signed by the Chief Minister and Chief Secretary with me, let him slap the first case against me,” said Chennithala.
Regarding Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s allegation that the Opposition leader is two-faced, Chennithala retaliated that he is casting such aspersions to hide his own two-faced behaviour. While the Opposition has been rallying behind the LDF government in the efforts to fight COVID-19, Pinarayi has been blaming them without any rhyme or reason for the failure to combat the pandemic, he said. Chennithala blamed the Pinarayi government for sending out the wrong message to the public that they had been able to combat the pandemic when the curve was going up.
“If the LDF government had increased the number of COVID-19 tests, things would not have gone haywire. Every day people are seeing how two cabinet ministers are sitting idle when Pinarayi Vijayan has been resorting to his daily dose of sermons. I had sat on an eight hour dharna in front of the Secretariat for the first time since I became the Opposition leader against the LDF government’s decision to make COVID-19 negative certificates mandatory. Was it due to the dharna that the situation went out of control in Kasaragod, Mattancherry, Poonthura and other coastal areas?” asked Chennithala.
The UDF will be holding a dharna across the 24,000 booth committees on Monday demanding Pinarayi’s resignation from office and also seeking a CBI probe into the role of the Chief Minister’s Office following the gold smuggling case.