(Eds: Adding quotes of Chief Minister) Thiruvananthapuram, Sep 23 (PTI) The Kerala government on Wednesday decided to file a complaint before the Press Council of India over the 'defamatory reports' published by some newspapers on the incident of a minor fire at the Secretariat here on August 25.
The decision in this regard was taken at the cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.
'Certain media houses reported that the Chief Minister and the Chief Secretary were behind the fire incident.
Some responsible media houses tried to portray that we were attempting to destroy evidence.
They were acting without following any ethics and we want to bring this incident to the notice of the authorities concerned,' Vijayan told reporters here.
The state government has also decided to seek legal opinion on filinga defamation suit to take action against some newspapers, 'which had consciously published reports that could lead to misunderstanding'.
Legal opinion will be sought from the Advocate General for initiating action under Section 199(2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) for publishing defamatory reports against those engaged in their official duties, a statement from the Chief Minister's Office said.
Section 199 of CrPC deals with prosecution for defamation.
'Three newspapers had reported fake news, saying some important diplomatic files connected with the gold smuggling case were destroyed in the fire,' a source from the CMO said.
Targeting the CPI(M)-led state government over the fire which broke out the General Administrationdepartment in the secretariat, the opposition Congress and BJP had alleged that they suspected a 'sabotage' to 'destroy important files' relating to the sensational gold smuggling case.
The opposition parties had also staged violent protests, demanding a probe into the blaze.
The state government has appointed an ADGP-led probe team to investigate the matter and an expert panel to look into the technical reasons behind the incident.
The panel, in its report, had cited short circuit as the cause of the fire.
The government had maintained that none of the important files had been destroyed as the secretariat had a few years ago migrated all its files to the e-filing system as part of its paperless secretariat initiative. PTI RRT UD APR RAVINDRANATH APR RAVINDRANATH