‘Pension fraud’ to fund party cadres: Governor Arif Mohammed Khan questions Kerala govt’s scheme for personal staff

Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan lashed out at the Left Democratic Front (LDF) government in the state led by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan for nurturing political cadre using exchequer money.

Kerala has a system where the personal staff of ministers, who are appointed by the government on a coterminous basis, become eligible for pension benefits only after two years of service.

Governor Khan said that this system is used to nurture political cadres in the state. Periodically, the old appointees are removed and new ones are brought in so that more political cadres could get the advantage of this system.

“It is only in Kerala that personal staff members of ministers get pension benefits. While I was a central minister, I only had 11 members in my personal staff. Here, each minister employs more than 20 people. Most of them are political workers and they quit after two years and a few months to give a chance to another so that both of them get pension benefits,” Governor Khan said.

He added “I have called for the file and I am going to pursue this matter. This is a gross violation and misuse of the money of the people of Kerala. I am here not to run the administration but to ensure that business of the government is conducted in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution and constitutional morality.”

He also asked the Leader of Opposition VD Satheeshan to learn from senior Kerala Congress leaders Oommen Chandy and Ramesh Chennithala. The Governor said that LoP VD Satheeshan has every right to criticise the governor but he should first ascertain the facts before speaking publicly.

When Governor Khan had requested the government to appoint senior Kerala journalist Hari S Kartha as his additional personal assistant, the LDF government put up a dissent note while granting the appointment. The note was also leaked to the media.

The Governor said that he will not tolerate any attempt by the government to control the Raj Bhavan directly or indirectly. Earlier, he had also accused the Kerala chief minister and education minister of interfering in the functioning of the universities in the state. Governor Khan had said that he was almost coerced into accepting the reappointment of Kannur University Vice-Chancellor.  

Earlier, Governor Khan had almost refused to deliver the policy address of the government in the state assembly on Friday (February 18). The Governor consented at the very last moment, averting a Constitutional crisis.

Governor Arif Mohammad Khan, then a cabinet minister, had moved out of the Rajiv Gandhi cabinet in 1986 when then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi gave in to the Islamists’ demand of overturning the Supreme Court judgment in the Shah Bano case.

In a historic judgment, popularly known as Shah Bano case, the Supreme Court in 1985 upheld a Muslim woman’s right to alimony from a divorced husband. 

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