THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The government has removed Arun Balachandran, former IT Fellow to the CM, from the executive committee of Dream Kerala Project started for the rehabilitation of expatriates. Though the official explanation was that he was no longer the IT Fellow to Chief Minister, the move is seen as a continuation of action against him for his alleged links with the accused in gold smuggling. The continuation of Arun in the executive committee came as an embarrassment for the government after it talked tough on taking action against people involved in gold smuggling case.
Arun was part of the 14-member executive committee of the Dream Kerala Project announced on July 1. While most members in the committee are either IAS or IPS officers it was alleged that former IT Secretary M Sivasankar had used his clout to include Arun in it. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan chairs the steering committee of the project.
The government had earlier removed Arun as the Director Marketing & Operations of High Power Digital Advisory Committee (HDPAC) after it came to light that he helped Sivasankar book a flat on rent for Swapna Suresh, the second accused in the gold smuggling case. The government has also ordered a probe into appointments made during the time of Sivasankar which included the appointment of Arun. He was appointed as one of the IT Fellows to the Chief Minister in 2017. Over a year later the post was abolished and Arun was retained with a different designation.