CMDRF misuse: Lok Ayukta's crucial verdict in case against CM tomorrow

Pinarayi Vijayan
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. Photo: Manorama

Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala Lok Ayukta will deliver its crucial verdict in a case against Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Friday. The case involves the mishandling of the Chief Minister's Distress Relief Fund (CMDRF).

A bench comprising judges Cyriac Joseph and Harun Ul Rasheed will pronounce the verdict. 

It's been a year since this case has been waiting for the verdict and it was only after the petitioner approached the Kerala High Court last week seeking its intervention that things have now speeded up.

The High Court asked the petitioner to approach the Lokayukta with his petition and it was after this ruling came, that the Lokayukta decided to take up the case on Friday.

Public activist R S Sasikumar filed the case in 2018, which pertains to misusing the funds in the CMDRF. He alleged that Chief Minister and other ministers misused the money collected through CMDRF.

Sasikumar alleged that the money was given to those who were not supposed to get the relief. These included the family of a deceased CPM legislator, the family of a top leader from a Left ally who passed away, and also a Kerala Police officer who died when his vehicle met with an accident while accompanying late CPM leader Kodiyeri Balakrishnan.

Incidentally, during the fag end of the first Pinarayi Vijayan government the then State Higher Education Minister K T Jaleel had to quit following the Lokayukta verdict indicting him for misuse of official powers.

Hence, all eyes are on the Lok Ayukta which will meet on Friday to deliver another verdict against the CM and his cabinet members.

The plea to the anti-corruption ombudsman was filed in September 2018 and the hearing ended on March 18, 2022. Since then the verdict has been kept pending.

This verdict is expected at a time when Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan continues to sit on the Bill that tweaked the powers of the Kerala Lokayukta.

(with inputs from IANS)

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