Lokayukta full bench to hear CMDRF case on April 12
The complaint filed by former Kerala University syndicate member R S Sasikumar in 2018 alleged that the decision to provide financial assistance to the families of late leaders smacked of favouritism.
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The full bench of the Lokayukta will take up the case pertaining to the alleged misuse of the Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund (CMDRF) on April 12.
The case, which has Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan as one of the respondents, was referred to the full bench on Friday after Lokayukta Cyriac Joseph and Upa Lokayukta Harun-ul-Rashid developed ‘difference of opinion’ regarding the merits of the allegations raised and whether the particular decision of the members of the cabinet can be investigated under the Kerala Lok Ayukta Act.
Apart from Cyriac and Harun, the new bench will also have Upa Lokayukta Babu Mathew P Joseph on board.
The complaint filed by former Kerala University syndicate member R S Sasikumar in 2018 alleged that the decision to provide financial assistance to the families of the late leaders, NCP’s Uzhavoor Vijayan and former Chengannur MLA K K Ramachandran Nair, and policeman P Praveen, who died in a road accident while escorting former CPM state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, smacked of favouritism.
He had also alleged that the matter of providing assistance was not included in the agenda of the cabinet meeting and demanded the ouster of the CM and the ministers concerned.
The petitioner had said that since one of the judges gave a verdict against the government, the CM should step down.
“One of the judges has given a verdict against the government. Since the CM should be beyond suspicion, he should step down,” the petitioner had said. He had also demanded the new full-bench to finish the investigation in a time-bound manner and warned of approaching the High Court if any undue delay is made.
The hearing in the case was held from February 5, 2022, to March 18, 2022. However, the verdict was delayed for almost a year following which the petitioner approached the High Court, which directed him to approach the Lokayukta instead. As per the Kerala Lokayukta Act of 1999, the verdict of the anti-graft ombudsman is legally binding on the government.
The LDF government, meanwhile, had brought an ordinance tweaking the powers of the Lokayukta to remove a public servant from office. But the ordinance is yet to get the governor’s assent.