Following massive outrage from civil society and politicians from opposition parties, chief executive officer of the Coimbatore Smart City Limited, R Suganya resigned from her post on Monday. In her resignation letter, she has quoted 'mental stress and political controversies' to be the reasons for her leaving the position she took charge of just 18 days back.
Suganya is the daughter of former AIADMK MLA KP Raju from the Perur constituency and became the CEO of the Smart City project on August 11. She was appointed after being interviewed by the Coimbatore Corporation Commissioner and Special Officer K. Vijayakarthikeyan, Deputy Commissioner P. Gandhimathi and city engineer.
However, soon after the selection, multiple allegations surfaced regarding her lack of qualifications. Suganya had completed her MBA in 2012 and had largely worked in the human resources departments of a company in the manufacturing sector and a hospital.
The State Government had initially issued advertisements asking for people with 15 years experience to apply. Of this, they were required to have atleast five years of experience in the urban sector. A monthly pay of â‚¹2 lakh had been announced. The requirements were however later watered down to three years of experience including two years in urban sector. This, members of the DMK and BJP alleged, was done to ensure that Suganya was eligible for the post.
While the former CEO was unavailable for comment, her father told TNM that the entire episode was a political conspiracy. "They interviewed 21 candidates and found her to be the most qualified for the post," says KP Raju. "She has a very development oriented approach and is very ambitious. They are unnecessarily sabotaging her position with these allegations," he added.
When TNM pointed out that she did not have the relevant experience for the post, the ex-MLA was quick to elaborate on her parents' achievements made her eligible. "I was an MLA and am a bank Chairman now. My wife has been working in the education sector. So, clearly she know how the system works already," he claims.
So his political clout was in now way used to get his daughter the position?
"Not at all," says KP Raju. "She has always been a meritorious student and makes her own decision. She was interviewed and secured the position based on her capabilities. Even if I wanted to, there is nothing that I could have done," he claims.
The BJP which led an agitation against the appointment on Friday dismisses the claim. "This is a Rs.1500 crore project which the Centre has rolled out. How can you even think of giving it to someone so inexperienced? asks Vanathi Srinivasan, BJPâ€™s State vice president. "There is clear political motive behind her appointment. I have already written to the national urban development minister Narendra Singh Tomar and asked him to look into the watering down of the eligibility criteria," she adds.