The CPI(M) state secretariat on Tuesday disapproved of party central committee member and state Finance Minister Thomas Isaac’s public criticism of the Vigilance Department’s raid at state-run NBFC Kerala State Financial Enterprises (KSFE).
Questioning the propriety of the raid on Saturday, Isaac had said, “I don’t know whose lunatic idea was this raid.’’
The Vigilance Department is under Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.
On Tuesday, the party state secretariat said in a statement after its meeting, “The chief minister himself has made it clear that it (raid) was a routine examination. Certain reactions on Vigilance raids at KSFE had led to wrong interpretation and campaign. Those statements have been reactions of certain persons who have been provoked by the apparent bid to defame an institution like KSFE. But such public statements should have been avoided.’’
Besides Vijayan and the CPI(M) state secretariat, Isaac also faced heat from three Cabinet colleagues for speaking against the Vigilance action.
On Isaac’s assertion that a minister should be informed about the Vigilance raid at an office or department under his ministry, senior party leader and Public Works Minister G Sudhakaran said, “There have been raids at my department also. But I have never stated against it. Let the Vigilance examine.”
The outburst of Isaac, considered an emerging power centre within the CPI(M), against the Home Department under the Chief Minister is seen by many as a sign of Vijayan’s waning clout in the government and the party.
Despite the recent controversies around the Chief Minister’s Office and the Home Department, including the gold smuggling case, no party leader has publicly questioned the intention behind action of any department under the CM.
Vijayan, meanwhile, has deftly put an end to the issue by snubbing Isaac and saying that the Vigilance detected anomalies in KSFE, and that the agency has every right to conduct surprise checks at offices of NBFC. Although CPI(M) acting state secretary A Vijayaraghavan and state secretariat member Anathalavattam Anandan initially came out in support of Isaac, both recoiled after Vijayan’s clarification.
Isaac had courted controversy last month, too, when he revealed the content of an audit report by the CAG before it was tabled in the state Assembly. Isaac was provoked by the CAG reportedly questioning the constitutional validity of overseas borrowing of Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board.
The Opposition has moved a breach of privilege motion against Isaac for the leaking CAG report.
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