news Wednesday, February 25, 2015 - 05:30

The News Minute | January 1, 2015 | 11.30 am IST

The Kerala state cabinet on Wednesday decided to promote senior IPS officer Tomin J Thachankary, who is facing a vigilance probe on various charges of irregularities, to the post of Kerala's Additional Director General of Police (ADGP).

According to media reports the decision was taken in the absence of Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala who had said that the promotion should be made only after consulting the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) coming under the Union Ministry of Home Affairs. However, when contacted the Home Minister said that he was not aware of the cabinet decision to promote the police officer.

The Home Ministry and the state police chief had earlier raised objections to the promotion of Thachankary to the rank of ADGP. The screening committee for promotions which included the Chief Secretary, Home Secretary and the police chief had withheld this promotion citing the pendency of a case in the vigilance court against the officer.

There are also reports that the promotion proposal was not there in the Wednesday’s Cabinet agenda and the matter was brought up by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy. It is being reported that the decision was taken after the Advocate General of the state and the Law Secretary took stands in favour of the police officer.

“Even though the decision may not be legally wrong, there is an issue of propriety in the matter. The chief minister could have consulted the DoPT before taking a final call,” the Times of India quoted a source in the government as saying.

Apart from charges of having amassed disproportionate wealth, Thachankary was also facing probe over his frequent foreign tours without government consent, and also of having met people with terror links. The officer, known to be a close confidant of the CPM leadership, has been very controversial.

In 2002 his personal security guard was caught in the Kochi international airport bringing costly electronic equipment. It was alleged that the equipment was purchased for a news channel run by the CPM.

In 2006 a police raid had found pirated CDs in large quantities from a digital studio run by his wife in Kochi.

In 2007, following the vigilance case registered against him for amassing wealth to the tune of Rs. 90 lakh disproportionate to his known sources of income, he was suspended from service. Later he was reinstated on the condition that he should not be given key posts.

For his unauthorized foreign visits to four Middle East countries, Thachankary was suspended from service in 2010. He had applied for a leave travel to Gangtok and had made these visits. His appeal against the suspension was quashed by the Central Administrative Tribunal.

Despite his suspension the then Congress-led Kerala government posted him as the Managing Director of Marketfed, a public sector organization.

Thachankary was also accused of meeting people with terror links during this foreign trip. The then Indian ambassador to Qatar Deepa Wadhwa Gopalan had written to the Union Ministry of External Affairs about this following which the Union government ordered an NIA probe. The probe by a central agency was termed as “inappropriate” by the Kerala government.

Eventually the probe exonerated him on the charge of meeting people with terror links. Instead, the agency had recommended action against him on lesser charges as per the All India Service Rules, 1969.

Though the Chief Minister on Wednesday justified Thachankary’s promotion as a routine one, Leader of Opposition V S Achuthanandan demanded that the promotion be withdrawn. “The ignorance of home minister about the promotion adds to the mystery .The incident once again proves that the chief minister, who himself is drenched in corruption will go to any extent to save corrupt officials“, he said.

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