Soon after the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau raided KSFE, Finance Minister Thomas Isaac has hit out at the state Home Ministry. He asked whose decision it was to raid the enterprise, which is also one of the most profitable institutions in Kerala. This has created a clash between the finance and home ministries, while the higher-ups have stated that the raid happened without their knowledge.
However, what is more prominent at this point is that some reports claim that Thomas Isaac has asked KSFE managers not to allow VACB officers for further sudden raids and not to allow them inside the offices. This has created a problem since the apparent statement from the minister is a breach of the oath he has taken, and a disregard for the constitutional principles he works under. However, the finance minister hasn’t yet denied making these statements.
The claims, if true, create a cause for concern. He is asking the KSFE officers to stop an officer of the law from discharging their duties. This duty has been enforced by the Supreme Court and upheld by many High Courts. The minister has reportedly stated that sudden raids are “forbidden”, and that the officers must inform the management beforehand and explain where they intend to raids. Thomas Isaac has allegedly made these claims while attending a director-level board meeting of KSFE. He has also reportedly said that he would handle the consequences of the decision when it may come.
However, in today’s press conference, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had stated that it was not a raid, but a routine enquiry. He explained that the VACB conducts routine enquiry as such as this all the time, with 18 enquiries reported in 2019. Covid-19 had prevented the agency from such routines in 2020. Such sudden raids are not abnormal, and it only needs the permission of the Vigilance Director. Pinarayi explained that the vigilance had received reliable information that there are anomalies that “might affect the enterprise” and they conducted “enquiries” and not raids.
“The agency conducts such enquiries based on confidential information if such info is proven reliable. The agency will file a report based on their findings and they will submit it to the government. The Vigilance department does not take any action based on that,” the CM said. He added that the Director of VACB had given the order for a statewide enquiry based on the confidential information on November 10.