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Kerala govt to take action against media houses alleging defamatory reports on state secretariat fire incident

The Kerala government in a cabinet meeting decided to take legal action against certain media for reporting on the fire incident in the state secretariat.

A month after the fire incident that occurred in the Kerala secretariat, the Pinarayi Vijayan-led Kerala government has decided to take legal action against media outlets for allegedly publishing defamatory news while reporting the fire incident, reports Mathrubhumi.

According to the reports, the Kerala government in a cabinet meeting decided to take legal action against certain media for reporting that several files related to diplomatic affairs were also destroyed in the fire incident in the state secretariat. The cabinet had earlier sought legal advice from the Advocate General in this regard and discussed the same in the meeting before making the decision.

After the incident of fire, several media houses had reported that files kept in the political section of the Administrative Department of the secretariat were destroyed in the fire. Following the reports, the opposition had also raised the issue. The Communist govt in the state have claimed that the news of diplomatic files being burnt is defamatory against the govt, and has decided to case files against the media houses under section 199(2) of the CrPC.

Apart from this, the Kerala government will also approach the Press Council against the media for publishing news saying that important files were burnt in the fire at the Secretariat. The cabinet also appointed Home Secretary P K Jose to fulfil both the tasks.

Kerala secretariat fire incident

On August 25, a fire broke out at the Kerala Secretariat complex in Thiruvananthapuram. It was alleged that files belonging to high-profile gold scam were also kept on the same floor. The opposition parties had alleged that fire had broken out in the political wing of the Administrative Department at the Secretariat at a time when NIA demanded some documents from the protocol officer in connection with the gold smuggling case.

This fire incident was widely reported by the media and many opposition leaders, who had alleged that the files related to Kerala gold scam were allegedly burnt in the fire incident. It is pertinent to note that a minister in the Kerala government and several high-profile officers linked to Kerala CMO have been alleged to have played a role in the Kerala gold scam.

A close nexus between Pinarayi Vijayan-led government and Kerala gold smuggling case accused was recently unearthed during the NIA investigations into the gold scam. The NIA had confirmed to the court that prime accused Swapna Suresh had close links with CM Pinarayi Vijayan’s office.

Last month the call details of Swapna Suresh had also revealed that the accused was in regular touch with Kerala’s Higher Education minister KT Jaleel. 

The NIA had also informed the court that Swapna Suresh had established links with chief minister’s office (CMO) through Pinarayi’s now suspended principal secretary, M Sivasankar, with whom she enjoyed close proximity.

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