Former vigilance director Jacob Thomas reinstated, gets a low-profile post

Jacob Thomas reinstated in service, given low-profile posting
Jacob Thomas

Thiruvananthapuram: Jacob Thomas, who has been under suspension for over two years, has been reinstated to the service.

On Monday, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan signed the order, appointing him as the Chief Managing Director (CMD) of the state-owned Shornur Metal Industries Limited.

Prior to his suspension, Thomas had served as the director of the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau (VACB).

This is the first time that an Indian Police Service (IPS) officer is being posted as the CMD of Shournur Metal Industries.

The CPM government seems to be in no mood to leave Jacob Thomas in peace. Not only has the seniormost IPS officer been given a dull obscure post but has also been put under none other than industries minister E P Jayarajan against whom the VACB under Thomas had registered a case for alleged nepotism in appointment to a key government post. 

While quashing Jayarajan's case in 2017, the High Court had also made scathing remarks against the VACB. The HC had said that the FIR was registered by VACB without properly considering the facts and also the various provisions of the law. This was then seen as a slap on the face of the former VACB chief. 

Earlier in July, a Central Administrative Tribunal had ordered to reinstate Thomas.

Thomas told Manorama that he has not received any official communication yet.

Thomas has been under suspension for alleged violation of service rules.

The complaint was filed by the General Administration Department on the direction of Chief Secretary Tom Jose. The Crime Branch wing of the Kerala Police had registered a criminal case against Thomas for penning his bare-all autobiography. 'Sravukalkkoppam Neenthumbol' (Swimming With Sharks) without obtaining prior permission from the governemnt.

In the 240-page book, the 1985-batch IPS officer had attacked many leaders, including former chief minister Oommen Chandy, and mentioned how the investigation of some controversial corruption cases were sabotaged. The book details his life from childhood in a hilly hamlet of central Kerala to his experiences as an all-India service officer.

According to the FIR, Thomas had allegedly revealed in the book official secrets, which had come to his knowledge in his capacity as the vigilance director, thus violating the Police-Forces (Restriction of Rights) Act, 1966.

Thomas, however, said no prior permission was needed before publishing the book as it came under the category of literary works. He also claimed there were no new revelations in his book, but information that was already in public domain.

The officer had triggered a row by initiating a probe against high-profile persons, including ministers, politicians and bureaucrats, during his over one-year tenure as chief of the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Department.

He was later transferred as the director of the Institute of Management in Governance before being placed under suspension in December 2017 for his remarks against the Pinarayi Vijayan government's handling of the Ockhi cyclone.

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