A day after Kerala Finance Minister Thomas Isaac questioned the propriety of a Vigilance raid at a state-run Non-Banking Financial Company (NBFC), Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Monday said the anti-corruption bureau has every right to examine the financial institution.
The Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau (VACB) is under the Home department, a portfolio held by Vijayan. Its raid at 40-odd branches of Kerala State Financial Enterprises (KSFE), which comes under the Finance Department helmed by Issac, created ripples in the CPM circles in the state.
The raid was initiated after the VACB detected alleged anomalies in handling deposits and in the conduct of auctions of chitty.
Lashing out at VACB, Isaac, a central committee member of the CPM, said Sunday, “VACB did not show minimum propriety while raiding. I don’t know whose lunatic idea this raid was. VACB need not interpret laws. There is a law department for that,’’ he said.
Besides Isaac, party state secretary V Vijayaraghavan took an exception to the raid, saying the “party would look into the issue’’. Another senior party leader and state secretariat member Anathalavattam Anandan also questioned the raid, alleging a conspiracy. He said the VACB action was aimed at destroying the credibility of the government institution.
However, the Chief Minister on Monday justified the VACB action. “This is not the first Vigilance raid…There have been 18 surprise checks in 2019 and 7 in 2020. Vigilance has found certain discrepancies in the functioning of KSFE and raised concerns about its financial status. These raids are held as part of finding anomalies in government departments. The raid at KSFE was sanctioned by its Director. VACB does not require any other sanction to conduct a raid,’’ said Vijayan.
Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Ramesh Chennithala alleged that the state government has converted KSFE into an instrument to whiten black money. “The protest of the Finance Minister against the raid shows that VACB should not probe corruptions and anomalies in the government institution. Now, the VACB has become a caged parrot.’’
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