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Kerala information commissioner Natarajan suspended

Posted on Nov 12, 02:32PM | IANS

In what is believed to be the rarest of rare cases, Kerala Information Commissioner K. Natarajan has been suspended by Governor H.R. Bhardwaraj.

A top government source confirmed to IANS Monday that the governor had signed the suspension order.

The fate of Natarajan, a former deputy inspector general of police, had been hanging in balance ever since television channels telecast a conversation he had over the mobile phone with a man reported to be Deputy Superintendent of Police (Vigilance) V.G. Kunjan, in September last.

In the phone conversation, the information commissioner is heard persuading Kunjan to ensure that former chief minister V.S. Achuthanandan is not included in the list of accused in a land scam case.

In June 2011, the Congress-led Oommen Chandy government had ordered a probe into the transfer of land in Kasargode district to one T.K. Soman, a relative of Achuthanandan.

The cabinet also decided to cancel the land allotment to Soman, a former defence official.

The land transfer took place at the fag end of Achuthanandan's tenure as chief minister in early 2011.

Following the telecast of the conversation, Kerala Home Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan asked Additional Director General of Police R. Sreelekha to conduct an inquiry.

Sreelekha had completed her inquiry and submitted a report to the state government, which was later forwarded to the governor.

Since Natarajan's is a constitutional appointment, further proceedings in the matter will occur in consultation with the Supreme Court.

Even though Natarajan was appointed when Achuthanandan was still in harness, the former chief minister was quick to condemn Natarajan and assert that he did not need support of this kind, and could handle the case on his own.