ALAPPUZHA: The Travancore Devaswom Board is neck-deep in corruption, according to devaswom minister Kadakampally Surendran.
He said on Sunday that TDB president Prayar Gopalakrishnan and member Ajay Tharayil were shown the door due to corrupt practices. He cited the case of Mr V.S. Jayakumar, former TDB secretary (brother of former devaswom minister V.S. Sivakumar), who has been facing Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau (VACB) probe into the disproportionate assets charges.
The local fund audit department had also found corruption under him in 2013 in the purchase of utensils for Sabarimala.
Mr Gopalakrishnan refuted the minister's charge saying that his exit was due to the personal enmity between him and the minister. Mr Surendran said that the government's policy was to limit the TDB term to two years and added that Mr Jayakumar's case would be probed thoroughly.
The TDB, with the approval of Mr Gopalakrishnan and Mr Ajay Tharayil, had tried to post Mr Jayakumar as commissioner in February. But the move was foiled when Mr K. Raghavan, one of the three members, petitioned Mr P.R. Raman, ombudsman for Travancore and Cochin devaswom boards, on May 5accusing his colleagues of convening board meetings without his knowledge.
He had also said that the board meeting held on February 21 in his absence had resolved to appoint Mr. Jayakumar subject to the approval of the High Court. He urged the ombudsman to review all proceedings initiated by the board in his absence and has put forward suggestions to prevent the recurrence of such instances.
However, Mr Jayakumar approached the High Court challenging the directive of devaswom minister to Mr Gopalakrishnan to remove him from the devaswom secretary post. He also urged the court to declare that the state government or its minister was incompetent to issue any directive to the TDB on matters covered under the Travancore Cochin Hindu Religious Institutions (TCHRI) Act. But the TDB asked Mr Jayakumar to go on leave after the government ordered a probe.
Mr Raghavan told DC that the government list for the post of commissioner was still before the High Court. The Sabarimala pilgrimage arrangements would not be affected due to this. A new administration was expected to be appointed during the season, he said....