The probe team has begun scanning the damaged files to store safely in the e-file system. Sources said the scanning process is being recorded on video in a bid to avoid any allegations, controversy.
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Special Investigation Team led by ADGP ( Headquarters) Manoj Abraham probing the fire incident in Secretariat in Thiruvananthapuram has revealed that as many as 25 files were partially damaged. Of which, none were important files. The team said all the files are pertaining to the government notifications to the various departments.
The fire broke out at the protocol division of the General Administration department on Tuesday evening, which led to the gutting of several office files.
The fire occurred at a time when the working of the protocol office was under the scanner after it emerged that officials here had made lapses while dealing with diplomatic baggage destined for the UAE Consulate in Thiruvananthapuram.
The fire was first noted in one of the computers by 5 pm. Shortly after, it engulfed a portion of the office. Due to COVID-related restrictions, only two employees were present there at that time.
While the fire was doused within 15 minutes with the help of the Fire and Rescue Department, files stored in racks nearby were gutted.
The incident triggered strong reactions from opposition parties, who claimed that the fire outbreak was staged to sabotage the ongoing probe into the gold smuggling case.
Opposition Leader Ramesh Chennithala had said the government and the Chief Minister were trying to sabotage the probe. BJP state president K Surendran and team rushed to Secretariat alleging foul play in the incident.
The police whisked away BJP leaders, including state President K Surendran, and denied entry to Congress MLA V S Sivakumar into the Secretariat premises, while Chief Secretary Vishwas Mehta ushered the media out of the premises before taking questions from them.
The incident also led to a spate of violent protests across the state by various political parties demanding the resignation of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.
The preliminary evidence indicated a short circuit from an old ceiling fan appears to have led to the fire. Meanwhile, the government came with an explanation that all important files in the secretariat are kept under the e-filing system.