KERALA : A fire broke out in the protocol department in the North block of the Secretariat here, housing important offices, on Tuesday evening, but was brought under control,fire and rescue department, news agency PTI reported. The fire was reported in the protocol section of the General Administration Department in the Secretariat which led to the gutting of several office files.
The department was informed at around 4.45 pm about the blaze and fire engines left for the secretariat immediately, the sources told PTI. P Honey, Additional secretary, HousekeepingCell at the Secretariat, said a short circuit from a computer is suspected to have triggered the blaze, which has been doused.’No importantfiles have been destroyed.
They are all safe’, the official told a television channel.There were only two people in the office as the remaining staff had gone on quarantine, he said, adding they were not injured. The fire was brought under control but many files are reported to have been destroyed which has led to several Opposition leaders suspecting foul play.
Notably, the protocol office is under the radar of investigating agencies after it emerged that officials here had made lapses while dealing with diplomatic baggage destined for the UAE Consulate in Thiruvananthapuram.
The NIA had quizzed the Assistant Protocol Officer’ and sought certain files from the department, many of which were provided to the probe agencies. Meanwhile, Kerala BJP president K Surendran alleged it was a “well-planned sabotage and an attempt to hide the involvement of ministers in the gold smuggling case”. The opposition Congress-led UDF in the state has alleged attempts to sabotage the investigations into the gold smuggling case.