The resignation of Kerala Chief Minister Pinaravi Vijayan’s Principal Secretary Nalini Netto was said to be due to intense political interference in the administration. Though she had only cited personal reasons, local media said that she was unable to bear with interference of political appointees within Chief Minister’s Office (CMO).
A senior IAS officer of 1981 batch, she had earlier served as Chief Secretary under the Vijayan government only, before her retirement in 2016. Later, she was appointed as Principal Secretary on April 1, 2017. Netto is said to have resigned following irreconcilable difference of opinion with political appointees working in the CMO. She was reportedly felt snubbed as she was repeatedly bypassed in the decision-making process inside CMO at the behest of Vijayan’s political appointees.
Earlier this week, MV Jayarajan, private secretary to the CM, tendered his resignation to assume the role of CPI(M) district secretary in Kannur. Netto is the cousin of Girija Vaidyanathan, who is current chief secretary in Tamil Nadu. She has held several important administrative assignments. She served as the first woman Chief Electoral Officer of Kerala.
It may be recalled that Netto, while serving as transport secretary of Kerala in 1999, had filed a sexual harassment case against then transport minister Neelalohithadasan Nadar. Nadar was then a part of the Janata Dal. She had alleged that Nadar had invited her to his chamber at the Assembly Building on the pretext of discussing official matters and when she entered the chamber, Nadar attempted to molest her. After an FIR was registered against him, Nadar was forced to resign from the cabinet. Netto also filed a police case against the leader.