4 Kerala assembly staffers sacked over woman’s entry at NRI event: Speaker
The four contract employees of Kerala assembly’s Sabha TV were found to have facilitated the entry of controversial NRI woman, Anitha Pullayil, to the House premises during the state government’s world NRI meet
Kerala assembly speaker MB Rajesh on Friday said that the services of four employees of a private agency associated with the Sabha TV were terminated after they were found to have facilitated the entry of controversial NRI woman Anitha Pullayil to the House premises on the concluding day of the state government’s world NRI meet last Saturday.
The Italy-based Keralite woman’s presence in the Assembly during the ‘Loka Kerala Sabha’ meet had stirred a row in the state as she has been accused of having links with Kochi-based controversial antique dealer Monson Mavunkal, who was arrested last year after several cheating complaints surfaced.
Kerala assembly Speaker MB Rajesh admitted that her entry to the assembly premises was a lapse. The three-day function was organised at the assembly complex. After her visit triggered a controversy, the speaker asked the chief marshal to submit a report.
“She entered into the premises using an invitation card issued for the open forum conducted outside the main venue. Later she entered the assembly building with the help of the staff of the agency working for Sabha TV,” he said adding none of the assembly employees extended any help to her. He said the private agency deals with the OTT operations of Sabha TV. In the inquiry, it was also found that she was on the premises all three days of the function but nobody noticed her.
According to the report, a woman employee of the private agency took Pullayil into the assembly building and because the employee was known to the security staff, they let her go. After checking CCTV visuals, it was found that Pullayil interacted with many delegates outside the venue, the speaker said adding that the sacked employees admitted to their role in taking her to the assembly. He said security will be beefed up in view of the lapse.
After the controversy erupted, the department of Non-Resident Keralite’s Affairs (Norka), which organised the mega function, said she was not invited to the function. But later Pullayil told a Malayalam news channel that she was not evicted from the function as reported by a section of the media, but newsmen noticed her while she was coming out of the function. She said she attended it because she takes keen interest in issues of non-resident Indians.
Last year, a special investigation team (SIT) registered a case against her after she named the survivor allegedly sexually assaulted by Mavunkal. In jail, Mavunkal is facing 14 cases of cheating and a case of sexual assault.
Mavunkal, who rubbed shoulders with the rich and powerful as an “antique collector”, was arrested in September last year after five businessmen complained to chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan of being cheated of ₹10 crore. Later, many other businessmen also filed cheating complaints against him. A minor girl, daughter of one of his employees, also filed a sexual assault compliant against him.
After many cases surfaced, Pullayil distanced herself from Mavunkal and told news channels that she only advised those cheated to approach the police. Pullayil added she was unaware of his shady deals and started avoiding him after she got an inkling regarding some of them.
Shocking details of cover-up and laxity came to light after his arrest. Many police officers regularly visited his house, museum and a cosmetology clinic in Kochi that he ran on the basis of a fake degree. Police suspended inspector general (IG), A Lakshmana for his alleged proximity with the alleged conman. During investigation, it was also found that police set up a beat box outside his house to provide security for him.
SIT found that many who got cheated turned silent fearing stigma. The Enforcement Directorate (ED) questioned two retired police officers last week in connection with the money-laundering charges against Mavunkal.