Friction between a section of IAS officers in Kerala and Director of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau Jacob Thomas took a new turn today with former calling their colleagues to avail casual leave on January 9 to express “dissatisfaction over allowing Thomas to continue abusing his powers”. A note issued to press after a meeting of several IAS officers held here said, “We are requesting our colleagues of the Kerala IAS to avail of one day’s casual leave on January 9 to express our sadness, frustration and professional dissatisfaction and to show our solidarity with our aggrieved colleagues, in allowing the present Vigilance Director to continue abusing his powers.”
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The meeting comes a day after Vigilance named senior IAS officer and Additional Chief Secretary (Industries) Paul Antony as third accused in the case related to alleged nepotism in the appointment of a relative by former Industries Minister E P Jayarajan, who is the first accused in the case.
Paul Antony is the fourth IAS officer to come under the scanner of Vigilance after K M Abraham, Tom Jose, both facing charges of assets disproportionate to the known source of income and S Padmakumar, former Managing Director of state run Malabar Cements, who was arrested for alleged irregularities in the company.
Defending Antony, the note said the officer had only obeyed the written instruction of the Minister.
“In the past few months, there have been other instances when the Vigilance Director has unleashed vindictive actions against officers who have either pointed out his illegal misdoings or questioned his powers to take the law into his hands,” the note said.
The note also said the government was “protecting” Thomas even though there were reports of allegations against him. “We are deeply aggrieved and saddened that such an officer, whose integrity is prima facie doubtful and not beyond suspicion, is allowed to sit in judgement as Vigilance Director on the conduct of other civil servants.”
They also requested the President of the Kerala IAS Association to draft an appropriate, memorandum and submit it to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan for “his kind and urgent action.”