Exclusive Interview with Dr.L.Radhakrishnan by Aabha

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Dr.L.Radhakrishnan.IAS had an illustrious career as the Chairman of Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust that fetched him ‘port personality of the year’ award instituted by World Ports and Trade Summit earlier this year. Now, at the far end of his career, he has proved his worth again by taking up another challenging role as the Principal Secretary (home), Kerala. He shares his views with Aabha Muralidharan of Media Eye during his short visit to Mumbai.

1.  Could you explain the law and order situation of Kerala?

A.   Law and order in Kerala is usually challenging at a time when elections are expected to happen within a year. It’s a challenging period for Kerala right now, because all these political parties try to raise various issues and try to win the hearts of voters to ensure that their disposition towards these particular parties is in their favor, so that they can take advantage during elections. As it is an over sensitive period, it’s very difficult to maintain law and order in a general sense. If you look at issues which are more particular like ensuring the safety of citizens, I don’t think there is dramatic difference between pre-election year and any other period of time. It’s far better even though some crime statistics indicate that per capita crime is on a rise, but I would say that is because of the high level of reporting, and also the high accessibility of citizens to the police stations. Maybe a higher level of confidence in justice system as administered by the police department and by the courts in Kerala would contribute towards higher sense of trust and therefore, registering of complaints.

2.  You have recently joined as the Home Secretary of Kerala. So far what are the differences you have made?

A.   I have just joined and I don’t think I have made any difference so far. But, we are trying to make differences, not just me, but as a team. Our focus is to ensure accountability in terms of the citizen’s services. Ensuring that the technology is used to their advantage so that even with a lower number of personnel, we could do far more things. Using of technology also enables complaints to be registered online through emails, for FIRs to be filed, lot of documentations to be done and also to be communicated between various sources in the police and the judiciary using internet and communication technologies. So, all these measures are being done to give better services to the citizens and also for speedier administration of justice.

3.  The main issue now, is that of Saritha Nair, wherein many politicians are involved. What is your opinion about it?

A.   This issue is getting prominent media coverage in Kerala. I would say that for the media, probably this is an issue but in the larger perspective of law and order of Kerala this is not, but unfortunately a lot of time and energy is being spent by media. Though media attention has come as one of the aspects we are looking into it. I believe, we are able to do justice to the task given to the police.

4.  You being the vigilance in charge, how did you tap the conversations between Saritha Nair and the people involved?

A.   I didn’t do that, it’s just that in case of investigation, there is a reason to believe that the information on the usage of telephones or any other form of telecommunications is necessary for faster gathering of evidence to ensure that the culprits are brought to book faster. It’s only in exceptional cases that orders for tapping of telephone conversations are given. This is done mostly for criminals and for people who are plotting against the state for terrorism activities.

5.  There is a rumor that this issue might go to the high command. Is it necessary or not?

A.   Being a political question, I have no opinions.

6.  Being a creative type of person, and having handled major assignments in JNPT, what is your opinion about your present assignments as home secretary?

A.   The home secretary’s portfolio is very large, you are dealing with something little less than a lakh of personnel, either directly employed or co-operating with the justice system by way of citizens doing voluntary work etc.  It is a relatively small force for the population in Kerala. We have to ensure that we get the right information to take preventive action and the culprits are brought to book as soon as possible. It’s a very challenging task and I am in charge not only of the law and order but also the security, the administration of justice, prison administration, fire and rescue services, vigilance department which looks after the corruption particularly. It’s a wide range of activities which is totally different from the activities as CEO of JNPT. In JNPT it was mostly focused on commercial aspects and shipping etc. whereas the creation of infrastructure is not a big part of the job. Of course modernization of police infrastructure using technology is a big part. There are different sets of challenges and it is really exciting and the post is very important from that point of view.

7.  You have succeeded in your previous assignments, and I am sure you would enhance the reputation of the Home department. As far as Kerala is concerned will you be able to do justice?

A.   It’s not me or somebody else. I am appointed to this job which I will do the best of my ability and with all sincerity and commitment. It is too early to say whether I will succeed or not. I think that we will continue to work and I will continue putting in my best. We hope we do the right things and achieve whatever are the broad goals for which this department is.

 

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