Thiruvananthapuram | The opposition Congress on Friday asked the Left Front government in Kerala to initiate criminal proceedings against a former Secretariat employee for alleged cyberbullying of Achu Oommen, daughter of late Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, in the wake of the upcoming Puthuppally bypoll.
The opposition party urged Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to cancel the former Secretariat employee's reappointment at the Institute of Human Resources Development (IHRD), an autonomous educational institution established by the Government of Kerala, and register a criminal case against him.
The accused, Nandakumar, was reportedly a former leader of a Left-oriented service organisation.
In a letter to Chief Minister Vijayan, Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly V D Satheesan wanted that the man, who is currently working as an administrative officer in the IHRD post retirement, be removed from the service at the earliest.
Through cyberattacks against Achu via his social media handle, Nandakumar has violated service rules, he further said.
"He should be removed from the service for blatant violation of service rules," Satheesan said.
Attacking the police, the Congress leader also alleged the investigators had yet to interrogate Nandakumar apart from registering a case based on the complaint of Achu Oommen and recording the statement of the complainant.
In the letter, the LoP expressed doubts whether Nandakumar's connection with the ruling CPI(M) higher-ups was the reason for the "protection" given to him by the police.
"It is an insult to the government to protect a criminal who has humiliated womanhood and questioned and abused a woman's self-esteem," he further said.
If the CM is sincere in his pro-women stance, Nandakumar should be dismissed from service and a criminal case should be registered against him, the Congress leader added.
When some of his Facebook post remarks against Achu Oommen triggered a controversy, Nandakumar recently tendered a public apology and made it clear that he didn't intend to hurt or insult anyone.
However, Achu went ahead with the complaint and approached the cyber police about his defamatory remarks.
"The accused has purposefully lied to the public with the culpable and malicious intention to defame the complainant and thereby to spread an untrue, false and scandalous imputation against the complainant that she and her late father are corrupt," the complaint read.
As the campaign has intensified in Puthuppally, where a bypoll is scheduled for September 5, the personal lives of candidates, their close relatives, and their assets have been the topic of discussion by some online media groups.
Achu's brother, Chandy Oommen, is the Congress-UDF candidate in Puthuppally.
She had earlier strongly condemned the cyberattacks against her and said they were to divert attention from the current issues of "corruption and inflation" in the state.
Achu said she had been working as a content creator in the fashion and travel sectors for some years, and her photos taken as part of her job were misused on cyber platforms by vested interests with a deliberate intention to malign her father's reputation.
She had also said she had not made any personal gain by misusing her father's name.
The bypoll was necessitated in Puthuppally following the demise of former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy due to cancer last month.