Differently-abled Kerala RTO staffer faced ‘insults’, finds inquiry into death

Sindhu’s brother said her notes had references to bribery at workplace and harassment  

Published: 08th April 2022 06:31 AM  |   Last Updated: 08th April 2022 06:31 AM   |  A+A-

By Express News Service

KALPETTA: The motor vehicles department has carried out a preliminary inquiry into the death of Sindhu Agasthy Puliyarmatam, 42, a senior clerk of the Mananthavady sub-regional transport office who was found hanging in her house in Edavaka on Wednesday. 

North zone deputy transport commissioner Rajeev Puthalath submitted a department-level preliminary inquiry report to the transport commissioner on Thursday on the allegations mentioned by Sindhu. The investigation officer collected the statements of Wayanad RTO E Mohandas and Mananthavady joint RTO Binod Krishnan. 

“We have found that Sindhu had faced insults at the office in connection with her work. The preliminary inquiry couldn’t find any proof for the bribery allegation, though,” said Rajeev, who will also be handling the detailed inquiry in the case.   

The police had found some notes and a diary in Sindhu’s bag, which had mentioned about harassment at the workplace. But the police said the cause of death is not clear. “Mananthavady inspector Abdul Kareem is investigating the case under IPC Section 174 for unnatural death. We are collecting more details and can’t confirm the cause of death without getting the postmortem report,” said Wayanad SP A Aravind Sukumar. 

Sindhu’s brother Jose confirmed that Sindhu’s notes had references to bribery at the office. Sindhu feared that she would not be able to continue working peacefully if she did not take bribes. Meanwhile, Wayanad RTO Mohandas confirmed that Sindhu had visited his office to give a direct complaint about the malpractices and isolation she faced at the office. 

“She along with four more employees from the office had visited me and talked about the isolation at the office and work pressure. I instructed the joint RTO to ensure a friendly work environment. I could only understand that she was upset with the workload and strict behaviour of her superiors. We haven’t received any complaints regarding the bribery allegations. Since all 76 services of the MVD have been made digital, the possibility of corruption is rare,” Mohandas added. 

But local residents disagreed. “There were incidents of officials asking for bribes for many government procedures at the office. But there has been no fair investigation on these complaints till now and many are not willing to openly question the officials,” said H B Pradeep, Edavaka panchayat president. Demanding a comprehensive probe into the death of Sindhu, AIYF and UDF activists took out protest marches to the Mananthavady sub-RTO office on Thursday.



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