What is the row over Jacob Thomas? Who is he?

The Rise of Jacob Thomas IPS as an anti-corruption crusader
news Thursday, December 10, 2015 - 18:41

DGP ranked officer Jacob Thomas IPS is a rebel police officer in Kerala, who has waged a vigorous campaign against corruption in the state and has been at the receiving end of multiple transfers.

His recent speech in Thiruvananthapuram on Wednesday on Anti-Corruption day, throws light on the poor state of affairs. He said that those who speak against corruption in the state are considered insane and corrupt officers are being promoted to higher levels.

"One can become a chief secretary only if there are at least three Vigilance FIRs pending against him,” he said sarcastically in his speech.

He said people and media should expose corrupt politicians, while pointing out, “last year, the Chief Minister and Home Minister had done an anti-corruption pledge this day. But this year they did not even prepare a pledge.”

Jacob also warned in his speech that the Chennai floods could be witnessed in Kerala also, if the needs of only a privileged few are taken care of, without all-round development.

What is the row over Jacob Thomas? Who is he?

Thomas had been widely appreciated for his enquiry into the case against Rahul R Nair (IPS) for allegedly taking bribe from quarry owners, on the basis of which he was suspended and also into the disproportionate wealth case against PWD secretary T O Sooraj.

In January, Thomas who was Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau (VACB) ADGP was promoted to DGP. That sudden move was much criticized as Thomas was investigating the bar bribery case involving former Finance Minister KM Mani.

Later in June, while he was the commandant of the Fire and Rescue Service (FRS), Thomas had revealed that he was under pressure in the bar bribery probe, which had triggered a political controversy.

“I conducted the inquiry without any bias. I have not acted according to the interests of the government or any individual. I am proud that I have not diluted the case. I acted in the interests of society,” he said in a media interview. 

In September, just four months after taking charge as the head of FRS, Thomas was shifted to the Kerala Police Housing and Construction Corporation (KPHCC) as Managing Director. Opposition leaders and many others had questioned this move, as there were rumours that there was political pressure behind the transfer.

Following this, Thomas publicly expressed his displeasure at frequent transfers and alleged that he was transferred because he introduced new strict regulations for the welfare of the public. It was also said that Thomas locked horns with powerful builders over safety standards, which resulted in his transfer.

"In the Vigilance and Anti-corruption Bureau, we launched a new scheme to tackle corruption and very soon I was moved out. In the new post (Fire and Rescue Forces), I had started bringing changes but now I have been removed,” he said.

After the senior police officer expressed unhappiness over his transfer to KPHCC, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy alleged that Thomas was ‘anti-people'.

"This official who was transferred yesterday (Thursday) had on a few occasions put the government into trouble through his actions. Look, our commitment is to the people and to address their needs and there were numerous complaints against this official. We are not interested in such changes that he (Thomas) has introduced," Chandy said in a press meet.

But an RTI reply from the CM’s office later revealed that there were no complaints from the public against Thomas as claimed by the CM.

When the court ordered a further probe against former Finance Minister KM Mani in the bar bribery scandal, Thomas wrote a post on Facebook in November, welcoming the court order and declaring that truth had won.

On November 30, Thomas sought permission from the Chief Secretary of the state to file a complaint against Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, for portraying him as anti-people, but it was later rejected by the Chief Secretary.

 

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