Kerala, India: On March 31, the Lokayukta refers the case against Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPIM) leader and Kerala’s Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and former Ministers alleging misappropriation and misuse of funds from the Chief Minister Disaster Relief Fund (CMDRF) to a larger bench after a split verdict.
The complainant RS Sasikumar alleged that the State Government’s decisions were actuated by corruption, favouritism and nepotism in the following instances:
- Giving financial assistance of about Rs 25 lakhs from the CMDRF to late NCP leader Uzhavoor Vijayan’s family towards his medical expenses and his children’s educational expenses.
- Sanctioning amount of about Rs 8.5 lakhs for late CPIM MLA KK Ramachandran from the CMDRF to clear arrears of loans from Government recognised institutions and provided a government job for his son.
- Sanctioning a financial aid of about Rs 20 lakhs to legal heirs of late Civil Police Officer P Praveen, who died in a motor accident while escorting late CPIM leader and former State Home Minister K Balakrishnan, from the CMDRF.
The complainant has argued that there are guidelines in place to manage the CMDRF and financial assistance could not be given from the CMDRF for such purpose. Furthermore, the complainant alleged that the persons seeking financial assistance should not be earning more than Rs 1 lakh and the accused have violated those guidelines. The complainant added that the decisions were not made in view of an application, but ‘out of agenda’ by the Council of Ministers, therefore, violating the CMDRF’s guidelines.
The complainant alleged that there had been several instances where an accident has occurred with security personnel escorting these Ministers, however, no such financial assistance was given from the CMDRF to their families.
It is pertinent to note that the CPIM Government passed the Lokayukta (Amendment) Bill, 2022, which cuts down the powers of the anti-corruption agency to an advisory agency. Furthermore, it allows the Government to choose whether to accept the Lokayukta’s decision. However, Governor Arif Mohammad Khan has not signed the Bill to date. The opposition has alleged that the Bill has been passed to protect the Chief Minister and his Cabinet Ministers in this case.