The CPI(M) MLA from Kerala’s Munnar (Idukki district) has created controversy by verbally insulting a young woman IAS officer, Renu Raj.
He was recorded as saying that the IAS officer ‘lacked brains’, after she tried to stop the unauthorised construction of a shopping mall at Munnar Hill station, reports News 18.
The news came to the limelight when news channels reportedly aired visuals of Devikulam MLA S Rajendran making derogatory comments against the sub-collector Dr Renu Raj, saying that she ‘lacked brains’ and has no authority to intervene in construction as building rules come under the purview of Panchayats.
“She (Renu Raj) doesn't have brains... she studied only to become a collector.. such people will have only so much brains. Should she not study the sketch, plans? A collector cannot intervene in a panchayat construction. This is a democratic country, and we as elected representatives should be heard," Rajendran was quoted saying in the report.
However, the sub-collector contended that she had issued a notice to the panchayat on 6 February asking it to stop illegal construction.
"I felt demoralised initially because I was doing my duty. But I have received support from my seniors, politicians, the public and the media. I will continue to do my duty," Renu Raj was quoted saying by News 18.
The four-storey under-construction building being built at a cost of Rs 1 crore did not have any permission, Raj said.
The Kerala High court in a 2010 verdict has mandated a “no objection certificate” for any new construction in Munnar.
Meanwhile, the Revenue Minister E Chandrasekharan has reportedly come out in support for the officer saying that "Understand that the action taken by the sub-collector is right and as per law. When she is taking action as per rules, we need to support her".