Finance Minister of Kerala, Thomas Isaac, on Sunday, criticised the searches conducted by the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau in nearly 40 offices of the state-owned Kerala State Financial Enterprises (KSFE), saying the action would only help private financial institutions and political opponents. Isaac said he was not against the raids, but the manner in which it was carried out on Saturday.
“I have no objection to the raids. But it should be done in a proper manner. Conducting a vigilance probe, submitting a report to the government and taking action if necessary are normal procedures,” he told reporters in Alappuzha district.
Some people have used it as an opportunity to spin a controversy out of it, he alleged. The minister further said the government will conduct an investigation to ascertain whether the officials had any part in it or was it just a coincidence.
The raids, which come days ahead of the local body polls in the state, is an opportunity to tarnish the institution’s image in the eyes of the people. This will only help private financial institutions and political opponents, according to Isaac. The government will take appropriate decisions after getting the report from the agency, he added.
Noting that the KSFE gives the most affordable gold loan in an easier manner for the public, he said it’s quite natural that many are not happy with it and want to create an issue. Isaac sought to know how the media got information about the raid.
Reacting to Union Minister V Muraleedharan’s statement on Kerala’s bar scam that agencies will investigate if someone seeks a probe, Isaac said, “Seems like he decides everything. I thought he was the minister of state for external affairs. He acts like he is in charge of everything related to Kerala. Some people are forgetting their place”.
Various central probe agencies – ED, National Investigation Agency and the Customs department – are probing the controversial Kerala Gold Smuggling case as well.
LDF convener A Vijayaraghavan, who is also holding the Party Secretary, said the vigilance action will be discussed in the party, while CPI(M) leader Ananthalavattam Anandan said such vigilance searches will harm KSFE’s credibility.
As the Leader of Opposition, Ramesh Chennithala demanded a comprehensive inquiry into KSFE’s dealings, KPCC president, Mullapally Ramachandran said the media reports on the raids need to be probed. The raid was held simultaneously and it is surprising that the CM, holding the vigilance portfolio, was not aware, he told reporters.
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