CPM jolted as 'own' state agency set out to unearth KSFE fraud

Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Finance Minister Thomas Isaac came out against the Vigilance raids on KSFE for the second consecutive day even as he assured investor's money would remain in its safe custody. Meanwhile, CPM leadership is peeved over the waning government control over investigating agencies like the Vigilance which is composed of police personnel.  

Isaac blamed the agency for lack of propriety while carrying out inspection in a financial institution.

"While any agency can conduct inspection in a public sector undertaking like KSFE, such checks are not required to be done in the manner in which the Vigilance did. I should not have been done to the extent of damaging an institution’s credibility or creating suspicion in the minds of the people," Isaac stated. 

Hinting at a conspiracy, Isaac alleged concocted news is appearing in the media and the government would conduct a probe on this matter. 

Vigilance reports are not meant to be released through the media. The government will examine the report when it comes through the proper channel, he stated.

"Whosoever may target the finance department but we are not afraid. We need to worry only if we are not able to give funds for projects passed by assembly or if we are not able to pay pensions to the poor," he added.

Party startled

The CPM leaders do not consider that the raids were carried out on the direction of Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan or with his permission. But the big question that is bogging them is whether the political control over police has weakened.

Many in the party feel that it will be difficult for the CPM to publicly dump the Vigilance.

The differences within the party over Vigilance raids come close on the heels of the controversy created by the amendment to the Kerala Police Act. Even though these differences are being interpreted in some quarters as a voice against the chief minister's 'dominance’, party sources have ruled out any such possibility. They say it is just a coincidence that the two controversial incidents came one after the other. 

No clarification yet

CPM state secretariat member Anathalavattom Anandan too vociferously slammed the Vigilance action even as the party is awaiting a clarification from the chief minister or the Vigilance in order to remove likely misgivings over any discord in the ministry.   

As the KSFE comes under the finance ministry and the Vigilance department is part of the home department headed by the chief minister, such unsavoury developments may indicate ministries are not working in tandem.

"The party will examine what the chief minister and finance minister have to say on the issue. By making his opposition public, Isaac has already conveyed his sentiments. It was under these circumstances that acting state secretary A Vijayaraghavan clarified that the party would examine the issue," Anandan said.

The veteran leader has been strongly defending and justifying the party's decisions in recent prime time debates on the news channels. 

Vigilance stand

The Vigilance has pointed out that the raids on KSFE were similar to the ones that are conducted in other government departments from time to time after receiving specific complaints. They never thought the finance minister would personally come out against the raids.

Interestingly, the state's own probe agency Vigilance has struck at a time when the CPM is out on the streets organising agitation against what it calls the politics being played by central investigation agencies in the name of probe. It is in this context that union minister V Muraleedharan's congratulatory message to state agencies for unearthing government’s corruption has come as a bolt from the blue.

Opposition blamed

Isaac, meanwhile, said if opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala has concern for the state's future, it would be good if he keeps in mind the manner in which a financial institution like KSFE is being sullied. 

He said the BJP need not try to create fear in the name of the ED probe just because they have a government in Delhi. He described BJP state president K Surendran as "loudmouth."

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