Sunday, June 04, 2023

Relief for Kerala CM as case against him sent to full bench of Kerala Lok Ayukta

PUNJAB NEWS LINE | March 31, 2023 12:42 PM

Thiruvananthapuram:In a brief relief to Pinarayi Vijayan, the Kerala Lok Ayukta on Friday referred the case pertaining to misuse of Chief Minister's Distress Relief Fund (CMDRF) by the previous government, also led by him, to a full bench in the wake of a split verdict by a two-judge bench.

The decision comes as a temporary relief for Vijayan as he can breathe easy till the full bench delivers its verdict.

Senior advocate at the apex court M.R.Abhilash said there seems to be merit in the case and now it's the full bench that will decide.

The case, awaiting verdict for the past one year, gained traction only after the petitioner approached the High Court last week seeking its intervention.

The High Court asked the petitioner to approach the Lok Ayukta with his petition and it was after this ruling came, that the Lokayukta decided to take up the case on Friday.

Public activist R.S. Sasikumar had filed the case in 2018, which pertains to misusing the funds in the CMDRF.

Sasikumar had alleged that the money was given to those who were not eligible for the relief. These included the family of a deceased CPI(M) legislator, the family of a top leader from a Left ally who passed away, and also to a Kerala Police officer who died when his vehicle met with an accident while accompanying then top leader of the CPI(M), Kodiyeri Balakrishnan.

During the fag end of the first Vijayan government, the then State Higher Education Minister K.T. Jaleel had to quit following the Lokayukta verdict indicting him for misuse of official powers.

But the saving grace for Jaleel was the verdict came only after the voting to the April 2021 Assembly elections.

The plea to the anti-corruption ombudsman was filed in September 2018 and the hearing ended on March 18, 2022. Since then the verdict has been kept pending.

This verdict is expected at a time when Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan continues to sit on the Bill that tweaked the powers of the Kerala Lokayukta.

Have something to say? Post your comment