Kerala Excise's top post may go back to IAS officer after 7 years
IAS officers intensifying lobbying for post; govt left with 2 options - to draft an IPS officer as excise commissioner or induct an IAS officer
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Following IPS officer S Aananthakrishnan’s retirement as excise commissioner, the state government is toying with the idea of appointing an IAS officer as his replacement.
The post of excise commissioner has been held by IPS officers since the first Pinarayi Vijayan government came to power in 2016. Prior to it, it was usually the IAS officers who were considered for the post. Anil Xavier was the last IAS officer who held the office.
The Pinarayi government opted for IPS officers, arguing that they will be the best fit for the job. However, the IAS lobby has harboured reservations with the decision. Sources said that for the last several years, IAS officers have been demanding the return of the post.
After the retirement of Aananthakrishnan, they have intensified their lobbying for the post. “It has been mostly IAS officers who have been leading the excise department. The trend was reversed in 2016. Rishiraj Singh became the first IPS officer to adorn the post, and he went on to complete 1,000 days in the department. Following his retirement, S Aananthakrishnan was appointed and he headed the department for about four years. The IAS officers wanted the post to be again earmarked for them. So, the government has been left with two options — to draft an IPS officer as excise commissioner or induct an IAS officer,” the sources said.
However, there is stiff opposition to taking back the excise commissioner’s post from the police. A section of IPS officers, the sources said, have apprised the government that taking back the post could affect the enforcement activities of the department.
“During the Oommen Chandy’s rule, the government had thought about appointing an IAS officer as vigilance director. However, the idea was abandoned after it was pointed out that the responsibilities of the director included investigation, and police officers were best suited for the job. The department has also been involved in a lot of investigations and arrests. Narcotics cases are on the rise and a senior IPS officer leading the department is always an advantage,” the sources added.
The IAS lobby, meanwhile, maintains that several states have IAS officers functioning as vigilance directors and excise commissioners and the rules do not exclude IAS officers from leading these departments.
- Post of excise commissioner has been held by IPS officers since the first Pinarayi Vijayan govern-ment came to power in 2016
- The govt argued that they will be the best fit for the job