Were Kerala whistleblower, two sons murdered?


Palakkad (Kerala) : Three days after a former official of Malabar Cements and his two sons were found hanging in their home, the initial theory of suicide was giving way to the possibility of murder with relatives saying he had exposed corrupt deals in the state-owned firm.

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V. Saseendran, 46, was the company secretary cum finance manager at state-owned Malabar Cements, where the vigilance department is looking into four cases of corruption. Saseendran was a key witness in all the cases.

Saseendran and his two sons, aged 10 and eight, were found hanging Monday evening in their home in Palakkad, abut 500 km from the state capital Thiruvananthapuram, when his wife Teena returned from her workplace.

Saseendran had quit his job as company secretary in October last year after writing a letter to the chief minister about widespread corruption in the company. But soon, through another letter, he withdrew all the charges.

V. Sanalkumar, his brother, has ruled out the theory of a suicide because he was very attached to his two sons and their family life was peaceful.

“There was no reason for my brother to commit suicide and it was only very late that we came to know he was under severe mental tension on account of numerous corrupt deals in his company, which were being investigated by vigilance,” Sanalkumar told reporters.

“He was a key witness in all the corruption cases and he was a person with impeccable integrity. We will go to any extent for the truth to come out,” she said.

Last week, the vigilance department submitted a chargesheet in one of the corruption cases – the list of accused includes former state chief secretary and former company chairman John Mathai, besides a few officials of the company and high profile businessman V.M. Radhakrishnan, said to be close to bureaucrats and politicians.

Radhakrishnan has been taking up major contracts of Malabar Cements. Saseendran’s wife has alleged that Radhakrishnan had threatened her husband with dire consequences.

Radhakrishnan, however, has denied ever making any threats to the deceased.

“We did have quite a few long conversations over telephone and it is there for anyone to check the details of the calls we had. Do you think he would call me after getting my so called threats?

“After Saseendran quit Malabar Cements, he did ask me to help him find a job and I did my best and put in a word with a few for a job for him,” said Radhakrishnan.

Sanalkumar, however, ruled out the possibility of his brother approaching Radhakrishnan for a job.

“My brother was highly qualified because he had two professional qualifications (company secretary and cost accountant). He did not need any sort of recommendation to get a job,” hit back Sanalkumar.

On Wednesday evening, police said the post mortem report confirmed that death occurred due to hanging, but they have asked for a detailed scientific examination.

Opposition legislator P.C. George, who first wrote to the Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan demanding an inquiry into Saseendran’s death, told IANS that it appears the present probe launched will not be enough.

“I have been following the corrupt deals in Malabar Cements for sometime now and it appears that only a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe would reveal the sequence of events and the real truth behind the death of an upright officer like Saseendran,” said George.