Thiruvananthapuram: Former Chief Secretary K M Abraham on Thursday defended the Revenue Secretary’s controversial order to pay the expense of the Chief Minister’s helicopter ride from the State Disaster Relief Fund.

Abraham said it was he who had asked the Revenue Secretary to issue the order for payment. Earlier, Revenue Secretary P H Kurian had said he acted according to the directives of the then Chief Secretary.  

Abraham said the visit of the central team to Ockhi-hit areas was very crucial and that the government viewed the visit very seriously. The CM had to rush to the spot of their visit and this is why he used the helicopter for travel, said Abraham who was the Chief Secretary then.

He further clarified that there are mainly three funds associated with cyclone Ockhi relief. They are Ockhi Disaster Relief Fund, The Chief Minister’s Relief Fund and the central fund. The payment for his helicopter ride amounting to Rs 8 lakh was not billed to any of these funds but to the State Disaster Relief Fund, he added.

Stating that the CM’s helicopter ride was legally viable, Abraham said many former chief ministers had travelled in helicopters before. Noting that the Chief Minister need not be blamed for the travel, he said the present controversy is entirely unnecessary.