Tension prevailed in the UDF-ruled Thrikkakara Municipality here on Wednesday as police allegedly used force to remove LDF councillors protesting against Municipal chairperson Ajitha Thankappan, facing a vigilance probe for allegedly secretly distributing money to all members during Onam, entering her office. The CPI(M)-led LDF councillors protested when Thankappan entered her office in the afternoon, which was sealed by the Municipal secretary following a directive of the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau (VACB). The office was sealed to collect digital evidence like CCTV footage of alleged distribution of Rs 10,000 as Onam gift to all members ahead of the festival.
When the chairperson sought police help to leave office in the evening, the LDF members protested, raising slogans and demanding her arrest for entering the sealed office. As the LDF members continued their protest in front of her chamber, police allegedly used force to remove them. Later, the LDF councillors protested, demanding action against the police officials responsible. According to the LDF councillors, Thankappan had secretly distributed Rs 10,000 in sealed covers along with the "Onakkodi" (new clothes) after calling each of the 43 councillors, including opposition members, to her cabin.
They claimed that 18 councillors later returned the amount as they had doubts about the source of the money. They also filed a complaint with the Vigilance department, seeking a probe into the alleged incident, charging that the money was collected through corrupt means.
Thankappan has categorically rejected all these charges, saying it was part of the continuing attempts by the CPI(M) opposition to topple the administration at the UDF-ruled Municipality.