TIRUNELVELI: The State government spent nearly Rs 1.96 crore on the single-member commission, appointed to conduct an independent inquiry into the death of former chief minister Jayalalithaa even after the Supreme Court stayed its proceedings in April 2019, according to an RTI reply received by a city-based activist on Tuesday.
According to the information shared by Public Information Officer (PIO) of the Public Department A Subramaniampillai with activist Bramma, the retired Judge Arumughaswamy, who assumed charge as chairman of the commission on September 30, 2017 received about Rs 85 lakh as salary till March, 2021. Of the total salary, around Rs 46 lakh was disbursed after the Supreme Court’s stay.
“The salary of the chairman from April, 2019 till December, 2019 was claimed in February, 2020 due to the stay imposed by the Supreme Court,” reads the RTI reply.
This apart, around Rs 2.1 crore has been spent for the salary of eight staff of the commission and as ‘Non-Salary Expenses’. Of this, Rs 1.5 crore was spent after the stay of proceedings.
“More than Rs 3.3 crore has been spent by the State government for the Commission so far. The government which continues to spend taxpayers’ money on the commission should approach the Supreme Court against its stay. Then it should support the commission to complete its proceedings within three months,” Bramma said.
Citing the RTI reply, he said the State government established 24 commissions from 2001 to 2018. “However, the recommendations of most were not fulfilled by the State government. The Rathnavel Pandian Commission, appointed to find a solution to caste-clashes, recommended creation of more jobs for youth of southern districts. However, the State government did not bring any major companies to Nanguneri Special Economic Zone which is ready with thousands of acres,” he alleged.
The PIO also said till July, 2021, Rs 4.23 crore has been spent on the proceedings of the Justice Aruna Jagadeesan Commission, appointed to inquire into the Thoothukudi firing. When contacted by TNIE to get his version, D Jagannathan, secretary to the Public Department, said he was yet to read the information provided. Judge Arumughaswamy could not be reached over the phone.