January 29, 2017 3:00:41 am
With the Centre forcing Meghalaya governor V Shanmuganathan to quit following a series of allegations sent to the PMO against him by the Raj Bhavan staff on Wednesday, as many as three officials appointed during his tenure have also lost their jobs. In a related development, the state women’s commission has demanded a probe into the allegations. They include two public relations officers Chinmoyee Deka and Emdorini Thangkhiew, of whom Deka was initially appointed as a personal assistant by Shanmuganathan in March 2016, only to be appointed as PRO within about five months. The third person is one Saurabh Pande who was appointed as Private Secretary by the former governor.
The appointment letters issued by the Governor’s Secretariat to these three persons had clearly stated that the appointments were “purely temporary” and were co-terminus with the tenure of the governor. Of the two PROs, Deka was reportedly with Shanmuganathan in Itanagar when the latter was compelled to put in his papers on January 26. Shanmuganathan had gone to Itanagar on January 24 (as he was also holding additional charge of Arunachal Pradesh).
The other PRO who was issued an appointment letter on December 7, 2016, had joined on December 21, but took leave on December 23, never to return to her office in the Shillong Raj Bhavan, it was gathered. Shanmuganathan, a veteran RSS pracharak from Tamil Nadu, had landed in a huge scandal after over 80 employees of the Raj Bhavan sent a letter to the PMO and Rashtrapati Bhavan on Wednesday complaining that the governor had converted the Raj Bhavan into a “young ladies’ club”. They also listed a series of “activities” of the governor, which according to them had “seriously compromised with the dignity” of Raj Bhavan.
Meanwhile, Assam governor Banwarilal Purohit on Saturday took additional charge as Meghalaya governor. Purohit, a former Lok Sabha member from Nagpur – twice as Congress and once as BJP – is also a former journalist, having been managing editor of Hitavada, a newspaper founded by Gopal Krishna Gokhale in 1911 which he had acquired in 1979.
Women’s Commission wants probe
Meanwhile, the Meghalaya State Women’s Commission (MSCW) has demanded a thorough inquiry into the allegations levelled against former governor V Shanmugathan, with its chairperson Theilin Phanbuh saying the charges were “very serious.” “The allegations leveled against the former governor are of very serious nature. The matter has assumed more seriousness because of such a large number of Raj Bhavan employees signing on the letter,” Phanbuh told The Sunday Express on Saturday.
“It will be very appropriate to institute a thorough and in-depth inquiry into the allegations. We have also written to the National Commission for Women about the entire issue centering around the former governor,” she said. Phanbuh however said the victims should have at least approached the MSCW with a formal complaint. “The women who were victims of the alleged incidents did not approach us. They should have. I still look forward to receive a complaint,” she said.
Two leading Shillong-based NGOs – Civil Society Women’s Organisation (CSWO) and Thma U Rangli (TUR) – too have demanded an inquiry into the allegations against Shanmuganathan. “Dismissing him from the governor’s post is not a punishment. He should be punished under the laws of the land after a thorough inquiry,” said Agnes Kharshiing of CSWO.
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