The Pinarayi Vijayan government in Kerala has decided to complain to the Press Council of India (PCI) over media reports that fire at the state secretariat causing damage to certain files relating to the sensitive gold smuggling case was engineered by the Chief Minister and the state chief secretary.
The state cabinet felt such irresponsible reporting caused irreparable damage to the state government and the CM personally.
The government has sought legal advice to file defamation suits against opposition leaders, who had alleged the fire was a deliberate act as the destroyed files were allegedly related to foreign visits of ministers and high officials, a highly contentious issue in view of the fact some scams had their origin in some of these visits.
The opposition charge was provoked by the fact chief secretary Vishwas Mehta had appeared on the scene and prevented newspersons from entering the gutted room. It was explained he was facilitating the officials assessing the damage to files.
A preliminary official inquiry into the fire had concluded it was caused by a shortcircuit in a dysfunctional fan in the protocol department. The probe also revealed only less important files had been lost in the fire.
A second inquiry by the police has confirmed the fire was indeed caused by shortcircuit and ruled out any conspiracy. CM Pinarayi Vijayan told newspersons at his daily briefing the state govt was not contemplating any action against the media outlets that carried the wrong report. But it has decided to complain to the PCI.
Also, the govt ordered a vigilance probe into Opposition charges over ‘construction flaws’ and ‘corruption’ in the Wadakkanchery project under the Life Mission scheme for providing houses to poor.
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