Relief for Kerala CM as Lokayukta dismisses petition in CMDRF case | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Relief for Kerala CM as Lokayukta dismisses petition in CMDRF case

Nov 14, 2023 06:22 AM IST

The petition against the CM was filed by RS Sasikumar, a former Syndicate member of Kerala University, in 2018

In relief for Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan, a three-member bench of the Lokayukta on Monday dismissed a petition in which allegations of nepotism and anomalies in releasing funds under the Chief Minister’s Disaster Relief Fund (CMDRF) were made against him and 18 others.

The Lokayukta bench found no evidence in the charges of corruption and nepotism levelled against Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan and others in the case. (ANI)
The Lokayukta bench found no evidence in the charges of corruption and nepotism levelled against Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan and others in the case. (ANI)

The Lokayukta bench found no evidence in the charges of corruption and nepotism levelled against the CM and others in the case.

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The decision of the Lokayukta came more than a year after the case was reserved for orders. The case had been referred to a full bench of the Lokayukta in March this year following differences of opinion between two judges of the constitutional body.

The bench of Lokayukta Justice Cyriac Joseph and upa lokayuktas Justice Harun Al Rashid and Justice Babu Mathew P Joseph held on Monday that the chief minister is vested with the authority to release funds from the CMDRF.

The petition against the chief minister and 18 others including members of the previous LDF cabinet was filed by RS Sasikumar, a former Syndicate member of Kerala University, in 2018 alleging corruption and nepotism in the way funds were released from CMDRF. The petitioner mainly challenged some of the decisions of the cabinet in 2017 where financial assistance was given to family of late NCP state president Uzhavoor Vijayan for his treatment and educational expenses of his children, funds given to family of late CPM MLA KK Ramachandran and a government job for his son and financial assistance given to kin of a civil police officer who had died in a motor accident while doing escort duty for then state home minister.

After his plea was dismissed on Monday, Sasikumar said he would appeal against the verdict in the High Court.

“It’s clear that all three judges of the Lokayukta have been (politically) influenced. There has been grave dishonesty on the part of the judges. It is not a truthful verdict. I will soon appeal to the division bench of the High Court and if I don’t get justice there, I will go to the Supreme Court as well,” Sasikumar said.

Meanwhile, Leader of the Opposition VD Satheesan said that the verdict of the Lokayukta was not surprising at all.

“The verdict of the Lokayukta that there is no evidence of corruption and nepotism in this case is biased. The ruling sends the message that funds from the CMDRF can be spent as per the wishes of the administration. There will be a dangerous situation where anyone close to the government can get funds from the CMDRF,” he said in a statement.

The CPI(M) state secretariat on the other hand welcomed the Lokayukta’s order.

“The person who filed a petition before the Lokayukta was a leader of a Congress outfit in the (Kerala) University. Such petitions are devoid of truth and politically motivated. The petitions filed by him in connection with universities earlier were also similar in nature and had been dismissed,” the CPI(M) statement said.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Vishnu Varma is Assistant Editor and reports from Kerala for the Hindustan Times. He has 10 years of experience writing for print and digital platforms and has worked at The New York Times, NDTV and The Indian Express in the past. He specialises in longform reportage at the intersections of politics, crime, social commentary and environment.

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