KOCHI, THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: It’s an irony that defies logic. A bureaucrat who has been selected for the 2016 edition of the Satyendra Kumar Dubey memorial award bestowed by IIT Kanpur for demonstrating ‘the highest integrity and sacrifice to uphold values in society’ is, at the same time, under the Vigilance scanner in his home state.
K M Abraham, Additional Chief Secretary, Finance, Government of Kerala, may be in the news for the wrong reasons in Kerala, but he chose not to travel to Kanpur on Tuesday. Abraham chose to stay away from the award ceremony, on November 2, to provide back-up support to the Finance Minister for the smooth passage of the Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIFB) Bill, being one of its chief architects.
It’s no secret that the prestigious award is named after the whistle-blower who was murdered in cold blood when he uncovered uncomfortable truths regarding corruption within the National Highways Authority of India project where he was working on deputation. It is said Abraham too received many threats for treading on toes of the ‘Who’s Who’ of corporate and political India.
But it’s a different kind of test Abraham is facing now as he has been put under the lens with a slew of corruption charges by the state Vigilance Department.
If many in Mumbai and Delhi had reason to be ruffled by the Dubey award being bestowed on Abraham, strangely it was in his home state that he began facing the heat. Abraham’s colleagues strongly vouch for his honesty. “Abraham has been a major contributor to some of the pilot initiatives in Kerala including People’s Planning.
He has a major role in the state’s recent initiative - KIFB,” said Chief Secretary S M Vijayanand. Though Abraham was nominated for the Dubey award several months ago, he was informed about it only in the third week of October by the IIT Kanpur Alumni Association. However, with the KIFB Bill coming before the Assembly on Wednesday, he chose not to attend. Kripa Sanker, his professor, received the award on his behalf and read out Abraham’s acceptance speech.
But things have been far from smooth on the home front. On October 26, Abraham’s flat was raided when only his wife was present. The Vigilance Directorate is probing into the charges of disproportionate assets against Abraham: one is on allocation of funds to an NGO. Another pertains to adverse remarks made against him by the SC. Last week, both Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Finance Minister Thomas Isaac came out with words of support, endorsing the integrity of Abraham.
State Vigilance chief Jacob Thomas has been maintaining that there was no deliberate attempt to tarnish image of any officials.