Congress alleges special treatment to T V Gopinath by the government

Congress alleges special treatment  to T V Gopinath by the government

The opposition Congress on Wednesday raised allegations of special treatment extended by the government to T V Gopinath, father of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s economic advisor Gita Gopinath, while procuring vegetables from his company for the state-run Horticultural Products Development Corporation (Horticorp).

The allegations were raised in the Legislative Assembly by Congress MLA V D Satheesan, as he sought leave for an adjournment motion to discuss an ongoing tussle between two senior bureaucrats in the Agriculture Department – Principal Secretary Raju Narayanaswamy and Director of Agriculture Biju Prabhakar.

Gopinath is the founder-director of the Karnataka-based Raita Mitra Farmers Producer Company Ltd. Satheesan pointed out that while Gopinath’s company, one of Horticorp's suppliers, was being paid promptly, payment to other suppliers and societies was being delayed. The remark triggered a strong response from the ruling front legislators and left Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan asking Satheesan to not go beyond the scope of his topic.

Proceedings in the House were disrupted after opposition MLAs rushed to the Speaker’s chair in protest. The Chief Minister took exception to the MLAs’ behaviour. Satheesan maintained that the Chief Minister had failed to rein in bureaucrats.

Vinayan T G, Horticorp Chairman, dismissed as baseless allegations of “special treatment” to Gopinath. “The company was finalised for supplies, along with other companies, as part of efforts to engage more farmers’ cooperatives and ensure good agriculture practices. There is no special treatment; his company can’t be kept away just because he happens to be Gita Gopinath’s father either,” Vinayan told Deccan Herald.

The July 2016 appointment of Gita Gopinath, a professor of International Studies and of Economics at Harvard University, as the CM’s adviser had triggered a controversy. Critics had raised concerns on how her positions would align with the Left. Later, she issued a statement explaining that hers was an honorary position without remuneration and it was up to the CM to consider her advice.

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