In a major development, Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau Director Jacob Thomas was removed from his post on Friday evening.
However, some reports suggest that the officer went on leave.
The DGP office told TNM that Jacob Thomas had gone on leave. DGP Loknath Behra will bear the additional charge of Director of VACB.
Jacob Thomas had a strained relationship with the previous United Democratic Front Government. He was posted as the VACB head shortly after the CPI (M)-led LDF government came to power in May 2016.
The decision to remove the officer, a self-proclaimed crusader against corruption comes two days after the Kerala High Courtasked the government why the Vigilance Director was not being removed from the post as the department was interfering in matters under the purview of courts and legislature. The court made the observation while hearing a petition filed by an industrialist, seeking to quash a vigilance FIR against him.
A few week ago, news reports had alleged that Jacob Thomas had violated service rules and was holding undisclosed property in Tamil Nadu. The allegation was that he had not mentioned this property in his latest disclosure of assets in January, 2017. Other IAS officials from the state had also complained against him saying that he implicated them in fabricated cases.
In November 2016 Thomas wanted to quit from the post following allegations of financial irregularities at the Port Directorate when he was Director . The 1985 batch officer is said to have close relations with Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.
Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala, meanwhile, issued a statement asking the Chief Minister to clarify whether Thomas has been removed from the post. "The Chief Minister owes an explanation on why he removed the VACB director after protecting him for so long," the statement said.