“The book is by-product of the controversies of which I was a part, willingly or unwillingly.”

Jacob Thomas reveals why he delayed Abdul Nasser Madanis arrest in 1998
news Controversy Tuesday, May 23, 2017 - 19:21

His autobiography is called ‘Sravukalkkoppam Neenthumpol’ - Swimming with the Sharks. And former Vigilance Director Jacob Thomas says, he has swum with quite a few. Who are the sharks? Who does his title refer to? “It could be businessmen, officials, public figures, not solely politicians,” Thomas tells TNM.

In the preface of his autobiography, Jacob Thomas writes: “In a sense the book is by-product of the controversies of which I was a part, willingly or unwillingly. None of the characters or instances described in the book are imaginations, they are real, they actually happened or existed.

“Sharks use their sharp teeth to catch their pray and to strangulate them. Their method is to swallow their prey fully or in pieces. That is the story in the sea. On earth, things are worse.” In a career spanning over 30 years, the 56-year-old officer was transferred 30 times. The autobiography elaborates on how he was transferred from each posting when he began to take stern action against corrupt people. The book talks about his incomplete missions while holding various posts due to untimely transfer.

The most interesting part of the autobiography is when Jacob Thomas recalls the sensational arrest of Abdul Nasser Madani , and the subsequent shunting out of the top cop. 

The Abdul Madani case

Abdul Madani is a People’s Democratic Party (PDP) leader, and was an accused in the Coimbatore blasts in February 1998. He was arrested in March 1998, and acquitted in the Coimbatore blasts case in 2007.

“I was appointed as police commissioner of Kochi in 1997. In 1998, on March 31, I got a call from an important person in Thiruvananthapuram, demanding that I arrest Madani. I enquired with all the assistant commissioners about whether there was any case against Madani. As I was told that there was no case, I replied to that person (who called) that I can’t arrest Madani as there was no case," Jacob Thomas writes.

"In the evening, a CI from Kozhikode came and told me that there was a case registered against Madani for a hate speech. I sensed a trap. If I had arrested him that day, I would have been caught in a fix as an India-Australia cricket match was going to be held the next day in Kochi. A large number people were likely to turn up for that,” he adds.

To avoid any tension during the match, Jacob Thomas says he decided to delay the arrest by a few hours. “That was the only solution before me to avoid newspapers carrying the news of the arrest the next day,” he adds.

The then Kochi Commissioner arrested Madani late in the night of March 31, and asked his subordinates to take him to Kozhikode to avoid any tension in Kochi.

“On the next day, I got a call to hand over the Kochi Commissioner’s responsibility to someone else. I was at the Kaloor stadium then, monitoring arrangements for the cricket match. I had to leave the stadium with the feeling of being insulted,” he writes.

Jacob Thomas as Lokayukta

The book also talks about the Pattur land case, where a private party was accused of encroaching government land. Jacob Thomas had probed the case when he was the head of Lokayukta.

“When our team submitted the report, I had to face many questions: Who asked you to probe this much, who asked you to submit the report? The questions were from the same persons who had asked me to probe the case. Those who are responsible were reluctant to give the details needed,” he writes.

“While in Lokayukta, I witnessed a situation in which officials of an institution against corruption were frightened when they witnessed corruption,” he adds. “I worked in Lokayukta for three months only. I was transferred to Vigilance the very next day when I seized files from Beverages Corporation and CDIT on a complaint of illegal production of hologram seals for fixing on liquor bottles,” the autobiography published by Current Books says.

If anybody felt that Jacob Thomas is not cordial with Loknath Behera, the former DGP of the state who replaced Thomas as VACB director, the autobiography says otherwise. “Behera enquired about Daisy when I was planning to marry her.  Behera is my batch mate. Like Behera, Rishi Raj Singh, another batch mate, is also my good friend. They have done the arrangements for my daughter’s wedding,” he writes. 

Dealing with the sand mafia

“Sand was more powerful than IPS officers,” Jacob Thomas writes, referring to how the sand mafia in the state reacted when the Coastal Shipping project, prepared by him when he was Director of Ports, was about to be implemented.

“The sand mafia, who were focusing on the ports of the state, filed cases against me with the Lokayukta, the High Court and with the Vigilance directorate. Their aim was to defame me,” he writes.

The cancelled release

The release of the autobiography, like many deeds of the senior IPS officer, became a sensation. Jacob Thomas had to call off the function which was to be held in Thiruvananthapuram on Monday evening, at the eleventh hour.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan who was supposed to be the chief guest of the function, backed away from the function after criticism was raised that Thomas violated the Officials Secrets Act. Later that evening, Thomas released the book at a hotel.

So was he upset when the Chief Minister backed off from the function? “No it was our joint decision. The cancelling of the function only helped to increase the sale of the book. Ten thousand copies were printed for the first edition of the book. Almost all the printed copies are sold out, and there was advance booking too,” he tells TNM.

Thomas abstained from questions on MLA K C Joseph’s criticism that he had violated Officials Secrets Act. Thomas is at present is on leave. He reiterated his statement that he is not willing to return to service soon. “Truly speaking, I am not interested. My next step is writing another book,” he says.

 

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