Kochi: Senior CPM legislator S. Rajendran who on Friday last publicly slandered a woman IAS officer saying she “lacked brains” after she tried to stop an unauthorised construction of a shopping complex in Munnar was forced to apologise on Sunday for his verbal abuse.
Mr Rajendran, a three-time legislator, abused Devikulam sub-collector Renu Raj, saying she “lacked brains”. The MLA had come under pressure from various quarters, including the CPM, which sought an explanation from him on the reported remarks.
Dr Raj, who entered Indian Administrative Services with a second rank while working as a doctor at a government hospital three years back, said she would report the incident to her superiors and the High Court. The incident came to light when television channels aired visuals of Mr Rajendran making disparaging comments that she has no powers them as building rules come under the purview of panchayats.
“She doesn’t have brains.. she studied only to become a collector.. such people will have only that much brains. Should she not study the sketch, plans?” he asked.
“A collector cannot intervene in a panchayat construction.. This is a democratic country and us as elected representatives should be heard.”
Dr Raj, who was appointed as the Devikulam sub-collector in November, said a memo had been issued to the panchayat on February 6 to stop the illegal construction.
Coming out in her support, revenue ninister E. Chandrasekharan, said, “Understand that the action taken by the sub-collector is right and as per law.”
“When she is taking action as per rules, we need to support her”.
The Kerala High court had in a 2010 verdict said for any new construction in Munnar, a 'No Objection' certificate needs from revenue authorities.
The four-storey building, built at an estimated cost of Rs 1 crore, did not have any permission from authorities, Ms Raj said.
The officer further said she had already informed chief secretary Tom Jose, revenue principal secretary and the district collector and as per their direction had prepared a written report, which she would forward to them along with her complaint.
Meanwhile, Idukki district CPM said it had decided to seek an explanation from the MLA.
Attacking the ruling LDF over the MLA's outburst, KPCC president Mullapally Ramachandran said at a time the CPM-led LDF government was talking about women empowerment, the left party needs to make its stand clear on the remarks of Rajendran against the official.
Reacting to the incident, IUML leader M K Muneer said the Devikulam MLA had spoken in an "insulting" manner.
He recalled that IPS officer Chaitra Theresa John had earlier faced the CPM wrath when she searched the party district office in Thiruvananthapuram.
Dr Raj's predecesor Dr Sriram Venkataraman had also faced political heat in 2017 when he adopted a strong stand against encroachers there and brought down a 30-feet metal cross at Papathichola.
CPM politburo member MA Baby said the left has always held women in esteem and respect.
Talking to a television channel, Dr Raj said: “He threatened me on the phone (against stalling the construction) and said it would go on, come what may. I politely said I would then be forced to act.”
The officer comes from a humble background, her father being a transport employee and mother, homemaker.
She went to a local Malayalam-medium school and vowed to serve, in an interview after getting into the IAS, the society and improve their living standards....