The government has suspended Coir Board Secretary M Kumararaja with immediate effect after an inquiry found out irregularities in tendering and payment process during the India International Coir Fair 2016. “After going through the reports, the competent authority has prima facie found that it is difficult to believe that these severe irregularities can happen without the involvement of the secretary, Coir Board,” a suspension order issued by the MSME Ministry read. According to sources, the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Minister Kalraj Mishra chaired a meeting yesterday before deciding on the suspension and directed officials to maintain transparency in work ethics.
Economic Advisor in the MSME ministry D P S Negi will hold additional charge of the Coir Board secretary with immediate effect until further orders. “It is further ordered that during the period that this order shall remain in force, the headquarters of M Kumararaja… shall be in Kochi and the said M Kumararaja shall not leave the said headquarters without obtaining prior permission of the Ministry of MSME,” the suspension order further said. The India International Coir Fair 2016 was organised by the Coir Board, a body under the MSME Ministry, on July 15-18 in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu.
An inquiry by the chief vigilance officer of the Coir Board was instituted to probe the expenditure for the conduct of IICF. In the inquiry report submitted by the CVO, KVIC made observations regarding irregularities in tendering and payment process of various activities under IICF 2016 in violation of GFR (general financial rules) and CVC (central vigilance commission) guidelines,” the order said. The expenditure was also audited by the internal audit team of the ministry, which also held a similar view.