Thiruvananthapuram: Vigilance sleuths on Friday conducted searches at the residence and office of a top Kerala IAS officer Tom Jose in connection with disproportionate assets case, even as the official denied any wrong doing and described it as "deliberate" attempt to tarnish his image.
A day after Vigilance and Anti Corruption Bureau (VACB) filed an FIR in the Mutvattupzha court, officials armed with search warrants conducted simultaneous searches at the flats of Jose at Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram and his office at the State Secretariat.
The house of his wife at Irinjalakuda in Thrissur was also searched, vigilance sources said. The FIR alleged that the officer had committed offence punishable under Prevention of Corruption Act.
Reacting sharply to the development, Tom Jose, additional chief secretary (labour) said the case had been inquired by the home secretary much earlier and had been closed. "All these allegations were examined by home secretary earlier and I had given my property statement from 2010. There is nothing new. This is a deliberate attempt to humiliate me", he said adding they (vigilance) have come with a search warrant with yesterday's date. "This is orchestrated attempt to humiliate me. A thread bare inquiry had been conducted and it was dropped saying there was no basis. Government dropped cases after filing Government Order,” Jose, who is the president of the Kerala IAS Officers Association, said describing the searches as "vendetta to tarnish my image". The Vigilance sources said the "house search" was conducted after it was found that the official had "amassed" assets about 62 per cent more than his income.
Vigilance had last month decided to conduct a confidential verification into the allegations raised by a complainant about various assets of Jose, including the purchase of a rubber estate at a cost of about Rs 1 crore at Sindudurg in Maharashtra. The officer said there was nothing "unnatural" in the land deal.
On Thursday, Jose and another senior IAS officer had met chief secretary S.M. Vijayanad, reportedly to express their displeasure over the vigilance "inspection' of the flat of additional chief secretary (finance) K.M. Abraham. Abraham had also written to chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan alleging that state VACB director Jacob Thomas was acting "vengefully" against him.
(With agency inputs)