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'Will Continue to Speak Out Against Corruption': Suspended Kerala IPS Officer Jacob Thomas

Initially, Jacob Thomas had the full support of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. During his stint has vigilance director, there was a tiff going on between the IAS and IPS officers in the state.

Neethu Reghukumar | CNN-News18

Updated:December 22, 2017, 7:29 PM IST
'Will Continue to Speak Out Against Corruption': Suspended Kerala IPS Officer Jacob Thomas
File photo of suspended Kerala IPS Officer Jacob Thomas.

New Delhi: Jacob Thomas may have been suspended by the CPI (M) led LDF government in Kerala for his "anti-government comments" but the senior IPS officer says he will continue to speak against corruption.

In 2016, Thomas was handpicked by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan for the post of vigilance director. Thomas, who was serving as the director of the Institute of Management in Government (IMG), for the last seven months has been was removed from the post this week.

Speaking to CNN-News18, Thomas said, "I spoke against corruption, speaking against corruption and for the poor people has become a misconduct here. Whistle blowing is considered as a threat. By removing me, the message to the honest people in the civil service is that you should never speak against corruption. I have a consistent stand against corruption and environment degradation in Kerala. Even in 2014, I could talk against corruption, but now its misconduct. I will continue my stand against corruption."

The LDF government came to power in 2016 on the backdrop of a "zero tolerance policy' towards corruption. Jacob's stand against the land grab in Pattor when he was ADGP vigilance during UDF rule made him a favourite with the LDF. It was during Thomas' tenure that an FIR was registered against then finance minister K M Mani in the bar bribery case.

Initially, Thomas had the full support of CM Vijayan. During his stint has vigilance director, there was a tiff going on between the IAS and IPS officers in the state. There were checks conducted at the houses of the present chief secretary K M Abraham, senior IAS officers Tom Jose and Paul Antony. The IAS officers in a mark of protest had even decided to take a mass casual leave but it was called off at the last minute after a meeting with the CM.

The case against LDF government minister E P Jayarajan also led to Thomas having a fall out with a section of the CPI(M). The Kerala High Court also made some remarks related to the functioning of the vigilance department during Thomas’ tenure. The court also asked if there there was "vigilance raj in the state".

There were also allegations of corruption against Thomas himself.

The CM made it clear in the Kerala Assembly that Thomas has the support of the government. Vijayan also said that some people are trying to remove Thomas from the post and that he has not so far behaved in a manner unbecoming of a vigilance director.

But things changed in March 2017, Thomas was sent on a month's leave and the state police chief was given the charge of the vigilance department. After he returned from the leave, Thomas was made the director of IMG.

Thomas is also been criticised for not being able to deliver as a vigilance director. Political analyst and senior journalist Jacob George said, "Initially, he was given immense power in a platter but he was not able to deliver any results. Many of the actions were only to grab headlines."

George also believes that the Thomas episode will not tarnish the image of the Vijayan government as there were corruption allegations against the senior IPS officer.

The speech that led to his suspension was made on December 9, at a seminar in Trivandrum on International Anti-corruption Day.

In this speech Thomas had said, "Earlier we used to say transparent Kerala, but now nobody says that, nobody wants transparency. We are scared to speak against corruption. If there is rule of law we will not be scared. If anyone speaks against corruption they will be silenced, might not be stabbed 51 times or even tongue cut but will be silenced."

Thomas was referring to the murder of Revolutionary Marxist Party (RMP) leader T P Chandrashekaran, which is believed to be an act of political violence.

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| Edited by: Bijaya Das
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