THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The trust factor of certain top cops will be put to test this week as Vigilance and Anti-corruption Bureau (VACB) director B S Mohammed Yasin will hang up his boots on Thursday. The search for his replacement is already on and there are two definite names doing the rounds who could head the anti graft body next. Highly-placed sources said South Zone ADGP Anil Kant and Director General of Prisons R Sreelekha are the front-runners for the post, with the former slightly nosing ahead.
The retirement of the professor-turned-cop, Yasin, comes at a time when the state is heading towards Lok Sabha elections. VACB director’s post is a powerful tool in the political theatre , especially when the elections are near, and the state government would like to have their most trusted officer helming the post.
Like his predecessor N C Asthana, Yasin found the going easy as his eight-month long tenure did not pose any anxious moments to the state government.
Prior to Asthana, the post was held by Jacob Thomas, who was once Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s blue-eyed boy and later fell out of favour with the CPM strongman. It was during his tenure that the department initiated several actions that irked the government and the bureaucrats alike. Sources told ‘Express’ that the government and the CPM had trust in Anil’s “impartiality” and “abilities”, while Sreelekha “had prior experience” in the department. Sreelekha had earlier been associated with the department as an ADGP and that experience is what bodes well for her.
Anil was the chief police handler during the Sabarimala crisis after the Supreme Court verdict allowing women’s entry to the shrine. “He usually keeps himself away from controversies and follows the orders from above. Hence his trust factor is high,” said a highly-placed source. A final decision is likely to be announced during the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday.In case, Anil is promoted to the cadre post, that means the zonal arrangement will be restructured simultaneously.
Express had earlier reported that the Police Chief had recommended restructuring the zonal set up by placing the IGs as heads. This decision is likely to get the Chief Minister’s nod , the opposition of the IAS lobby not withstanding. The opposition of the IAS lobby is based on the fact that if zonal restructuring comes into play, the Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram commissionerates will get judicial powers. Something that the IAS lobby don’t want to see happen. “Since the election declaration is expected soon, the announcement is likely to come on Wednesday. If not, then it will be announced after the elections,” sources informed said.