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Kerala to dilute powers of Lokayukta, Opposition cries foul

The move comes at a time when complaints are pending before the Lokayukta against Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Higher Education Minister R Bindu.

By: Express News Service | Thiruvananthapuram |
Updated: January 25, 2022 2:04:28 pm
Pinarayi Vijayan, Kerala Lokayukta, kerala opposition, kerala government, kerala news, Indian expressKerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. (File Photo)

In a controversial move, the CPI(M)-led government in Kerala has decided to bring an ordinance to amend the Kerala Lok Ayukta Act in such a manner that it would have the powers to reject the report of the anti-corruption body.

Last week, the state cabinet, which was attended by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan from the United States via online, recommended to the governor to issue the ordinance to amend Kerala Lok Ayukta Act, 1999. The amendment is aimed at giving powers to the government to “either accept or reject the verdict of the Lokayukta, after giving an opportunity of being heard.’’

As per the proposed amendment, the Lokayukta would have only the powers to make recommendations or send reports to the government.

In the previous LDF regime, higher education minister K T Jaleel was forced to step down after Kerala Lokayukta found that the minister had abused the power of his office and should quit. Jaleel had faced a case about the alleged illegal appointment of his relative with the state minorities development corporation.

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The move comes at a time when complaints are pending before the Lokayukta against Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Higher Education Minister R Bindu. The complaint against Vijayan was pertaining to the anomalies in the distribution of financial aid from the Chief Minister’s Disaster Relief Fund.

Senior Congress legislator and former opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala had complained to the Lokayukta against minister Bindu about her alleged illegal interference in the re-appointment of the vice-chancellor of Kannur University.

Ramesh Chennithala said the government should reveal the urgency behind the ordinance to dilute the powers of the Lokayukta. “CPI(M) has been always demanding to strengthen the Lokpal system to fight against corruption. However, the party politburo member Pinarayi Vijayan has decided to clip the wing of the anti-corruption body. The government’s move to rob the powers of the Lokayukta is unprecedented,” he said.

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He said that the government fears that it would face adverse verdicts from the Lokayukta in the complaints against Vijayan and R Bindu.

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First published on: 25-01-2022 at 01:42:32 pm
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