V Muraleedharan | Photo: PP Ratheesh | Mathrubhumi
New Delhi: The Office of the Prime Minister sought an explanation from Union Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan after he invited PR Agency owner Smitha Menon to a ministerial conference held in Abu Dhabi. The explanation was sought from the Ministry of External Affairs after complaints arose that protocols were violated.
The Under Secretary to the Ministry Arun Chatterjee who is also in charge of the Passport Seva Kendra was directed to hold an inquiry into the incident and to submit a report at the earliest.
Smitha Menon, who is not even an official representative, attended the conference of Foreign Ministers and higher officials of 22 countries held in 2019. Later, she was selected as one of the state general secretaries of Mahila Morcha.
Loktantrik Janata Dal (LJD) leader Saleem Madavoor was the first person to raise a complaint in this regard. Following this, a political controversy erupted and a complaint was filed to the PM from within BJP.
It is alleged that Smitha Menon is not a familiar face even for senior leaders of BJP and her presence in the conference of foreign ministers is a serious security lapse and protocol violation.
When BJP is protesting against Kerala higher education minister K T Jaleel regarding protocol violation, the same allegation against the union minister from their party has put them in the defensive. It is learnt that the inquiry will be held into matters including how Smitha Menon travelled with the minister and how her visa related procedures were completed.