THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Suspended senior IAS officer M Sivasankar had recommended appointment of Swapna Suresh, who was working as Secretary to the UAE Consul General, to the post of Operations Manager in the Space Park project under theKerala State Information Technology Infrastructure Ltd, a two-member committee has found.
Suresh is the key accused in the attempt to smuggle in 30 kg of gold through diplomatic channelon July 5 and has been arrested along with two others involved in the case being probed by the Customs and National Investigation Agency.
The committee, comprising Chief Secretary Vishwas Mehta and Additional Chief Secretary (Finance), Rajesh Kumar Singh, which had recommended the suspension of the senior bureaucrat on Thursday, had probed the allegation regarding Suresh’s contractual appointment in the project as allegations surfaced regarding her appointment.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had announced Sivasankar’s suspension during a press meet here on Thursdayon the basis of the committee’s recommendation.
The committee had found that Sivasankar, who was the IT secretary, had made a reference to the woman’s appointment, which prima facie, constitutes a violation of the All India Service Conduct Rules, 1968.
“Such association and frequent contacts with a foreignconsulateofficial, is also a violation of the above rules and on both these counts, departmental action should be initiated,” the order suspending the officer, issued on Friday, stated.
In view of the wider ramifications of the case, thecommittee had recommended that Sivasankar be placed under suspension with immediate effect pending completion of disciplinary proceedings.
The government found that Sivasankar violated Rule 3(2)and 3 (2B) of the All India Service (conduct) Rules, 1968 and Government of India Miscellaneous Executive Instructions regarding contact of members of All India Services with foreign national/missions.
Since the government views the matter “very seriously”, Sivasankar has been placed under suspension with immediate effect pending completion of disciplinary proceedings, the order stated.
After Swapna Suresh’s name cropped up in the attempt to smuggle in 30 kg of gold through diplomatic channel from the airport here, she was removed from the Space park project.
Police had also booked the woman and two firms Pricewaterhousecoopers and Vision Technologies on charges of cheating and forgeryover alleged fake degree certificate submitted by her to secure the IT job.
The consulting agency PricewaterHouseCoopers and Vision Technologies were responsible for verifying the documents submitted by her.