IAS Mohammad Y Safirulla assumes charge of IT Secretary, Kerala

Immediately after his removal as OSD to state chief minister, M Sivasankar on Tuesday vacated the IT secretary post after applying for a year sabbatical. This comes after the gold smuggling allegations took an ugly turn

A day after senior IAS officer, M Sivasankar was removed as principal secretary to the Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan, senior IAS officer Mohammed Y Safirulla on Wednesday assumed the charge of state IT secretary.

Following his removal as OSD to chief minister, M Sivasankar on Tuesday vacated the IT secretary post after applying for one year sabbatical, which the state government immediately granted.

This comes after a gold smuggling racket involving a woman employee, Swapna Suresh from the state IT department was busted by the airport authorities on Tuesday. Former IT secretary, M Sivasanka is alleged to have connections with the prime accused and was behind the recruitment of Swapna to the IT department despite her dubious background and a pending crime branch inquiry in a forgery case.

On the other hand Mohammad Safirulla, a 2010 batch IAS officer immediately took charge as the Secretary IT, Government of Kerala.

The entire chief minister’s office came in line of fire after the allegations were levelled against the top IAS officer as the department was held by state chief minister P Vijayan. The chief minister has meanwhile, denied any wrongdoing on the part of the CMO and said his government welcomed any probe.

“When allegations were leveled against Sivasankar by linking him with the controversial woman, he was removed from the post. However, the allegations are not legally tenable. But there were several remarks in society linking him to the woman. Such an individual shouldn't be part of the CMO at this juncture. Hence, we took such a decision,” Vijayan said.

Earlier, the customs department detected 30 kg of gold concealed in household items in diplomatic baggage that was seized at Thiruvananthapuram international airport. Customs authorities took the ministry of external affairs’ permission before opening the bag in the presence of officials from the UAE consulate. The precious metal was hidden in a door lock, pipe, car tyre pump and a speaker, sources said .

Sarith Kumar, a former PRO in the UAE consulate who had tried to receive the cargo by claiming to be a consulate staff, was arrested after questioning. Sarith, an accomplice of Swapna, had been receiving the cargo for the consulate at the airport for the past one year.