Tamil Nadu Minister V Saroja today dismissed the allegations of graft against her, saying the official who made the claim had done so to "divert attention" from a complaint of financial irregularities against her. The social welfare minister also denied J Raja Meenakshi's claim that the she had summoned the official to her house to discuss her transfer to this city. On May 11, Meenakshi, the Dharmapuri District Child Welfare officer, had filed a complaint with city police alleging that the minister had demanded Rs 20 lakh for her transfer to Chennai. She had claimed she had already paid Rs 10 lakh to the minister to allow her to "continue in her job." Denying the allegations, Saroja said Meenakshi had made the allegations to "malign" her and at the "instigation of someone," but did not name anybody. In a statement, the minister alleged that the Dharmapuri probation officer had on March 1, 2017 written to the district collector, accusing Meenakshi of forging bills to embezzle money from funds allotted towards child welfare activities. A probe was launched into the matter under a revenue officer who had summoned Meenakshi and the probation officer to appear for a hearing on April 21, Saroja alleged. While the probation officer appeared, Meenakshi did not and sought postponement of the hearing, citing health reasons and that she was scheduled to be admitted to a Chennai hospital, the minister said. Following this, the hearing was postponed and she was asked to appear on June 8 with relevant medical certificates, Saroja said, adding, Meenakshi had on May 7 met her at Chennai and urged that she be made permanent in her existing post and also placed a request for transfer. Meenakshi herself was aware that no rule permitted absorption of a temporary staff in that post and therefore she told her it was not possible to consider the case, Saroja said. "Further, her meeting the minister concerned (Saroja) without making pleas to the district collector or the department commissioner or secretary makes it amply clear it was meant to malign my reputation," Saroja said. "Therefore, with the intention of diverting attention away from the probe into embezzlement charges against her and to malign me, she has wantonly made false accusations at the instigation of somebody.
All the charges are contrary to facts," she added. The minister said Meenakshi was appointed following a "transparent" recruitment system after advertisements were given in newspapers calling for candidates. Meenakshi was appointed as District Child Welfare Officer in September 2016, she said.
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