Jacob Thomas is widely viewed as a favourite of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

CM Pinarayi-backed IPS officer has IAS lobby in a tizzy as he cracks down on corruption
news Corruption Friday, October 28, 2016 - 13:57

When the LDF government took over the government of Kerala in May 2016, one of the first things they did was to go in for a major reshuffle of the top police brass in the state.

This paved the way for the return of the ‘rebel’ IPS officer Dr. Jacob Thomas as the Director of the state Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau (VACB), a move that did not go down well with quite a few in the Opposition, as well as the bureaucracy. 

Jacob is widely viewed as a favourite of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan who has stood steadfast by him, even after a CBI probe was ordered into Jacob having taken on a paid civil job for three months as Director of TKM Institute of Management at Kollam, while still in service.

Pinarayi believes that Jacob is being unfairly targeted by certain vested interests, a point of view that the CM made known in the state Legislative Assembly on Friday, when the matter came up for discussion.

Jacob had shared a tenuous relationship with the previous UDF regime in his earlier official capacity as the Director of Fire and Rescue Services as well as the VACB ADGP. 

Considered honest to a fault, Jacob had then rattled the real estate mafia by denying permits to 77 high-rise apartments without the requisite fire-safety mechanism in place.

Former state Finance Minister KM Mani and state Excise Minister K Babu too bore the brunt of the bar bribery scam which was being probed by Jacob, who had then gone on to openly criticize the Oommen Chandy government in this regard.

In his comeback tenure at the VACB, this time as its top honcho, Jacob took up the anti-corruption crusade with the same gusto as before.

Now it was the turn of the bureaucracy to tell of past sins hitherto unacknowledged in public.

The Kerala High Court recently asked Jacob to personally supervise and monitor the inquiry into the Malabar Cements corruption case, wherein IAS officer Paul Antony -Additional Industries Chief Secretary- could possibly find himself in the dock.

Paul could also end up as the first accused in the controversial appointment of former state Industries Minister Jayarajan’s nephew PK Sudhir Nambiar as the Managing Director of Kerala State Industrial Enterprises, despite not being qualified for the same.

Other IAS officers facing the heat are state Additional Chief Secretaries KM Abraham and Tom Joseph in cases of disproportionate assets, following which their houses were recently raided. Tom also figures as an accused in the KMML case of purchase irregularities.

The state vigilance department is also investigating Sheik Pareeth IAS in numerous cases of irregularities while serving as Chief Engineer of the state Harbour Engineering Department and as the Ernakulam District Collector. 

Tomin Thachankary IAS has a case of amassing wealth and unauthorized foreign trips slapped against him, as well as bestowing undue favours while he was the state Transport Commissioner. 

KM Abraham in his complaint to the Chief Minister accused Jacob of an ‘ulterior motive’ for conducting a raid on his house without the requisite warrant to do so.

Abraham said Jacob was simply trying to get back at him for ‘recommendations of initiating disciplinary action against Jacob’ in a Finance Department Inspection Report that had pointed out certain irregularities when Jacob was the Director of Ports. 

Tom Jose too had said he would file a complaint with the CM over the house raid. A group of disgruntled IAS officers actually met the CM to complain of the ‘unnecessary’ official harassment they were being subject to by the Vigilance chief.

Pinarayi however seems firm on batting for Jacob -as of now- whom he considers his trump card in his anti-corruption arsenal. But as they say, politics does make for strange bedfellows. So just when the tide will turn against Jacob is a matter of pure conjecture.

 

 

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