Devikulam MLA now regrets saying woman sub-collector 'lacked brain'

Kerala MLA says IAS official 'lacked brains', expresses regret
Devikulam MLA S Rajendran made the comments after sub-collector Renu Raj tried to stop an 'unauthorised' construction of a shopping complex at Munnar hill station.

Idukki: CPI(M) MLA S Rajendran, who courted controversy after he publicly slandered young woman IAS official Renu Raj, has expressed regret over the incident. The Devikulam MLA had said Renu 'lacked brains' after the official tried to stop an 'unauthorised' construction of a shopping complex at Munnar hill station.

The incident, which occurred on Friday, came to light when some television channels aired visuals of Devikulam MLA S Rajendran purportedly making disparaging comments that sub-collector Dr Renu Raj "lacked brains" and has no powers to intervene in the construction 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 so much brains. Should she not study the sketch, plans?... A collector cannot intervene in a panchayat construction.. This is a democratic country and we as elected representatives should be heard...," Rajendran is heard saying to a group of people.

Renu, who was appointed as the Devikulam sub-collector in November last year, said a memo had been issued to the panchayat on February 6 to stop the illegal construction. But the work was still going on, she told PTI.

Renu has submitted a report to advocate general, stating that the MLA tried to stop her from carrying out official duty. According to Manorama News, Renu's report also pointed out that the centre was being illegally constructed by the panchayat. The sub-collector has also sought a report on the land dealings in the area after allegations that illegal activities were being carried out near the MLA's house.

Coming out in her support, Revenue Minister 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 has to be obtained.

The four-storey building, built at an estimated cost of Rs 1 rore, did not have any permission from authorities, Raj said.

The official 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 would be forwarded to them along with her complaint.

Women's panel against MLA

The Kerala State Women's Commission has taken a case, suo motu, against the MLA for making derogatory comments against the IAS official.

Meanwhile, the ruling CPI(M) has distanced itself from the incident and the party has sought an explanation from the MLA.

Attacking the ruling LDF over the MLA's outburst against the young IAS officer, KPCC president Mullapally Ramachandran said at a time the CPI(M)-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 Rajendran had spoken in an 'insulting' manner.

He recalled that IPS officer Chaitra Theresa John had earlier faced the CPI(M) wrath when she conducted a search of the party district office in Thiruvananthapuram and now it was the turn of the sub-collector.

Former Devikulam sub-collector Sriram Venkitaraman, had also faced political heat in 2017 after he adopted a strong stand against encroachers occupying government land at Munnar and had also brought down a 30-feet metal cross, put up under the garb of spiritual tourism at Papathichola.

(With PTI inputs)

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