The Buck Stops There
No police officer from Kerala was on the list for the President’s Police Medal awarded on Republic Day. The embarrassment has been compounded by a petty tit-for-tat between the state and central government, each blaming the other for the oversight. According to the Centre, the Kerala government failed to submit its list on time. Nalini Netto, the additional chief secretary of the state’s home and vigilance departments, insists that the list was submitted on time. Chief Minister Pinarayi
Vijayan has ordered a probe. Netto and the police have been at loggerheads over the Puttingal Temple fire in April last year. There has also been considerable tension between the state bureaucracy and the vigilance director Jacob Thomas. Reports suggest the power struggle between the IAS and IPS in Kerala resulted in the list not being submitted. Thomas, apparently, didn’t attend a screening panel meeting on December 26 as he had taken leave to attend his daughter’s marriage. The list had to be turned in by January 4. A petition, meanwhile, has been filed against Netto for helping Thomas escape disciplinary procedures on more than one occasion. These arcane issues aside, it appears the problem was a misunderstanding over how best to file the applications—online or in hard copy. The result is disgruntled officers with a prestigious award and lifelong stipend denied.