Chandy, Achuthanandan clash over chief secretary

Thiruvananthapuram : A war of words broke out Tuesday in the Kerala assembly between Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and Leader of Opposition V.S. Achuthanandan over the working of chief secretary E.K. Bharath Bhushan.

“It appears that the chief minister is afraid of the chief secretary and he (Bhushan) should be removed from his post. He has not made a proper disclosure of his assets,” Achuthanandan said.

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Sources said Achuthanandan has been criticising Bhushan after the chief secretary acted tough on a few bureaucrats said to be in the good books of the veteran Communist leader and former chief minister.

Achuthanandan said a building being constructed by a private builder in the city usurped government land with the blessings of both Chandy and Bhushan.

Chandy hit back and said Bhushan does not possess assets that have not been disclosed by him.

The chief minister also denied allegations levelled by the Left that ministers were being bypassed and bureaucrats rule the roost.

“Ministers won’t be bypassed by anyone, but we do not have a policy of lowering the morale of officials. We will protect all officers who are doing their job in the way it should be done and at the same time we will take to task those who violate laws,” Chandy said.

In 2001-2004, when A.K. Antony was the chief minister, Achuthanandan, then too Leader of Opposition, had heaped praises on Bhushan for a stand he took as the state forest secretary and termed him as a “clean official”.