Kerala Chief Sec goes on 3 months leave

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Thiruvananthapuram, Sep 13 (UNI) Kerala Chief Secretary Lizzie Jacob today applied for three months leave following reported differences with Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan over the ISRO land deal issue.

Both the Chief Minister and the Chief Secretary confirmed to newspersons that she applied for three months leave from tomorrow.

However, sources said Ms Jacob, who had five months service left, wanted to take voluntary retirement following some adverse remarks by the Chief Minister.

When she left the State Secretariat this evening after a meeting with her colleagues, senior IAS officials accompanied her to the portico to see her off.

Asked whether she had applied for VRS, Ms Jacob told newspersons that she had given a letter to the Chief Minister. However, she did not disclose its contents.

Later, the Chief Minister said she had applied for three months leave.

Her decision came a day after the Chief Minister told media persons that the Chief Secretary had erred him by not informing about the construction of the helipad at Merchiston Estate ahead of the Prime Minister's visit.

The Chief Secretary had sanctioned Rs one crore for the work. But a controversy arose later, with the opposition Congress-led United Democratic Front alleging that Forests Minister Binoy Viswom helped a private party to sell vested ecologically fragile land at Ponmudi to the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to set up a space institute.

Subsequently, the Government had promised to provide 200 acres of alternate land to the ISRO free of cost to set up the institute.

ISRO Chairman G Madhavan Nair would inaugurate the space institute at a function, to be organised at the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre here tomorrow.

UNI

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