Ethics panel to decide on allegations against Kerala Fin Min Thomas Isaac in CAG audit controversy
A first of its kind in the state’s history, Kerala Assembly Speaker P Ramakrishnan has decided to forward the breach notice against Finance Minister Thomas Isaac in connection with the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) row to the Privileges and Ethics Committee of the Legislative Assembly.
In an unusual move, the Speaker has refrained from taking action following a complaint filed by Congress MLA VD Satheesan and instead forwarded it to the House panel to decide on the matter. The complaint was filed under Section 159 of the Kerala Legislative Assembly, Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business.
The complaint states that the Finance Minister leaked the CAG report against KIIFB to the media. Usually, the report is first submitted in the assembly before releasing it to the public forums. However, the Finance Minister violated the rule by leaking the report.
Meanwhile, Isaac had given an explanation to the Speaker in person. However, deciding that the allegations are true, the Speaker forwarded the complaint and Isaac’s explanation to the Privileges and Ethics Committee for their consideration.
Earlier, the Finance Minister had said that the CAG report was a draft since the CAG had not yet contacted the government regarding the audit. Later, Isaac accepted that the CAG report he had found fault with was not a “draft” but the final one. However, he made it clear that he was prepared to face any punishment given for infringement of assembly privilege but dismissed resigning over this.