As the debate over the validity of Vigilance “inspection” of KSFE branches rages, Public Works Minister G Sudhakaran has told media persons today that such “raids are normal”. Sudhakaran also criticised Finance Minister Thomas Isaac for publicly criticising the raids and noted that respective ministers need not be informed of the raids in their departments. In fact, Sudhakaran asked where Isaac was when Vigilance had raided the Public Works department.
The Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau, which comes under the Home Ministry, had raided several KSFE branches on November 28. The Finance Minister, however, did not take lightly to this and lashed out at the Vigilance department and Home Ministry. Yesterday, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan clarified that the Vigilance hadn’t conducted raids, but inspections. He added that such inspections are routine and has occurred before.
The CM had clarified that such “inspections” only needs the permission of the Vigilance Director and they are undertaken based on confidential information. Moreover, Pinarayi added that his police advisor Raman Srivastava had no part in it, as the police department does not take direct orders from him.
While there might be a difference of opinion, Thomas Isaac will be unable to further voice his opposition to the raids, as it will cause further conflict with Pinarayi Vijayan. Moreover, the finance minister has expressed his desire to stop dragging the issue. “As it is election time, a lot of people are interested in taking the issue further. I have no more to add to what I have already said,” he said. Moreover, more and more members of the cabinet have also turned to support Pinarayi Vijayan on the issue. Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran has noted that the CM was right about the issue.
Meanwhile, the CPI (M) has called for a state secretariat meeting to address the issues. Reports suggest that the party will address the KSFE raid issue amongst others. Thomas Isaac and party member Anathalavattom Anandan will have to explain publicly criticising the home ministry for the raids. The latter had claimed that Pinarayi Vijayan and his department would have to reply to the raids.
Isaac and Anandan’s statements had invited the criticism of CPM central leadership. The higher-ups had asked the state members to express caution while raising voice against one of their own. At the same time, Isaac had noted that he should have at least been made aware of the raid.
At the same time, the finance ministry has ordered a month-long internal audit of the 613 KSFE branches. The enterprise has already completed an audit of 36 branches that the Vigilance had inspected. KSFE authorities have clarified that internal audit happens thrice every year and it is normal. Meanwhile, the CM had clarified that the Vigilance won’t take any action based on the report they will present following the inspection. Instead, the government will have to follow through with the report.