‘Today is my birthday’: Kerala Transport Commissioner Thachankary’s bizarre diktat to RTOs to celebrate his birthday
On Tuesday morning, all Road Transport Offices (RTOs) across Kerala received an unusual circular titled ‘Today is my birthday’. The circular, issued by Transport Commissioner Tomin J Thachankary, directed the offices to ‘celebrate’ his birthday.
Graciously, Thachankary took it upon himself to bear all the expenses of the celebration. He mentioned that sweets should be distributed at all RTOs and he would reimburse all the expenses incurred in this regard.
One could not expect that a man would make ‘factual error’ in such circular, but the IPS officer apparently did. As it turned out, his birthday actually falls on August 10 i.e. Wednesday.
But since he was in Kochi for a meeting on Tuesday, Thachankary, a 1984-batch IPS officer, cut cakes and distributed sweets at various functions, while elsewhere in the state, the department staff handed down cakes and ladoos on the occassion.
As the issue became a talking point, Thachankary claimed that he had spent money for the celebrations from his own pocket and hence there was no need to whip up any controversy.
State Transport minister A.K. Saseendran does not seem to be enjoying Thachankary’s birthday celebration and today directed Chief Secretary S M Vijayanand to examine if any circular had been issued by the Transport Commissioner.
The senior IPS officer has always been dogged by controversies, ranging from allegedly amassing wealth disproportionate to his known sources of income and making frequent trips abroad without seeking government's permission.
Thachankary was once placed under suspension in connection with a probe by the National Investigation Agency regarding complaints of unauthorised foreign tours but was later reinstated.
A case was registered against him in 2013 on the orders of a court to probe into the allegation that the officer owned a granite quarry at Mankombu, Munnilavu using the cover name of another person. A person had lodged complaint with the court, alleging that his house was damaged due to quarrying activities in his neighbourhood and alleged that quarry was owned by Thachankary.
Over the period, the officer has also been at the loggerheads with ministers of the ruling party. He was reportedly removed from the post of MD, Kerala State Cooperative Consumers’ Federation Limited (Consumerfed) and made transport commissioner after demands from a section of Congress leaders.
Minister for Cooperation C.N. Balakrishnan and Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala reportedly exerted pressure on then Chief Minister Oommen Chandy to remove Thachankary from Consumerfed.