Former bureaucrat Teeka Ram Meena has said that he has not targeted any individual specifically in his autobiography, Tholkilla Njan (I won’t be defeated), which was released here on Monday.
The book had grabbed headlines after P. Sasi, political secretary to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, served a legal notice on Mr. Meena, who had retired as Additional Chief Secretary earlier this year, for alleged slanderous references against him.
Talking to reporters after the release of the book, the 1988 batch IAS officer said he was prepared to talk it over if someone has a complaint.
The book does not mention Mr. Sasi by name.
Ready to talk it over
”There is nothing in the book that is meant to slander anyone or that has been written with malice towards anyone. But if anyone has a complaint, I am open to talk to them to clarify the position,” he said.
”The book is intended to motivate students. During my service, there have been some bitter experiences, some sweet experiences. Nothing has been written to target any specific individual. I have not mentioned any names,” said Mr. Meena who has served in many capacities, including that of Chief Electoral Officer (Kerala) during his over three-decade-long career.
Abstain from function
Following the controversy, Prabha Varma, Chief Minister’s media advisor who was scheduled to preside over the function, and Kerala Media Academy chairman R.S. Babu, who was to offer felicitations, did not attend Monday’s book release. Reacting to their absence, Mr. Meena said: ”We cannot force anybody.”
The controversy surrounds an episode in the book concerning Mr. Meena’s action against the local liquor mafia when he was District Collector, Thrissur. The book — without naming Mr. Sasi or anyone else — mentions the alleged role played by the political secretary to the then Chief Minister in attempting to scuttle the case.
Published by DC Books, Tholkilla Njan (I won’t be defeated) is in Malayalam and co-authored by M.K. Ramadas. The book recounts Mr. Meena’s early life in a village in Sawai Madhopur, Rajasthan, while its latter part is a ‘service story,’ relating to his experiences as an IAS officer in the Kerala Cadre up to the time he was the Chief Electoral Officer, Kerala.
Shashi Tharoor MP, released the book by handing over a copy to former Chief Secretary K. Jayakumar. Senior journalist John Mundakkayam presided over the function.