Babu War in Kerala
The state’s top civil servants are at each other’s throats
Several senior civil servants in Kerala applied for casual leave on January 9 to protest the state vigilance department registering cases against them. The immediate catalyst was a chargesheet brought against additional chief secretary for industries, Paul Antony, in the nepotism case against former industries minister E.P. Jayarajan. The mass leave protest eventually didn’t happen. But after six months of the new Left Front government, a bureaucratic dogfight is dragging the administration down in the state.
Senior bureaucrats say vigilance director Jacob Thomas is “misusing the department to trap fellow officers who exposed his own corruption in the past”. The latest official in the web is chief secretary S.M. Vijayanand, targeted in a case registered on November 9 last year,
Those probing the ‘charges’ are themselves under the scanner
for allegedly delaying a probe against former state intelligence chief and additional DGP, R. Sreelekha. “I’m least bothered about what happens to me in the future. I’ve served the government and the people with the utmost sincerity and integrity,” says Vijayanand. Some of the others facing the ‘vigilance witchhunt’ are additional chief secretaries K.M. Abraham and Tom Jose.
Ironically, those responsible for investigating the ‘charges’, are themselves under the scanner. Nalini Netto, additional chief secretary for home, for instance, is being investigated on charges of ‘manipulating government files’ to ensure the sacking of exDGP (law and order) T.P. Senkumar. And vigilance chief Thomas faces a ‘misappropriation of funds’ charge from the time he was ports director (201215).
NOT MY PROBLEM: CM Pinarayi Vijayan (left) with IAS officers at a meeting