CPI(M), LDF raise a revolt as police advisor puts CM in a quandary

CPI(M), LDF raise a revolt as police advisor puts CM in a quandary
Raman Srivastava, Pinarayi Vijayan and Loknath Behra

The ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) and the lead ally, CPI(M), are in a fix over the allegations being raised against the Home Department, headed by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

The party is apparently unhappy with the ‘complete control’ exercised by CM’s police advisor Raman Srivastava, a former Director-General of Police; State Police Chief Loknath Behra; and a couple of other IAS officers.

The party is worried as the local body elections are imminent and it does not intend to alienate the electorate. Political observers say the party, which stood steadfastly behind the CM in the airport gold-smuggling case, may not do it with regard to the goof-ups in the Home Department.

Also, the party and the front would need to face the Assembly elections in the coming year and it is a matter of concern that a section of the party has ‘openly aired their views’ against the CM and his administration of the Home Department.

The recent introduction of the amendment to the Police Act and its rescindment had caused a major embarrassment to the government. The CM had to admit in the Cabinet that the amendment was a ‘minor error’ that had happened to Srivastava.

The Vigilance raid on KSFE had also drawn criticism from Finance Minister Thomas Isaac and senior party leader Anathalavattom Anandan. Reportedly, the raid was also held at the behest of Srivastava.

The CPI(M) was staunchly against Srivastava. Later, many in the party were taken by surprise when he was appointed police advisor.

Party insiders were of the opinion that ‘certain officers’ were deliberately giving ammo to the opposition. The CM, on his part, was unable to rein in the activities in his own department, they said.

Sources said Srivastava was initially not interfering with the DGP’s office. Subsequently, the former had taken complete control. Officers said the duo were not consulting other officers and decisions were being implemented top-down.

A section of officers believed that key posts were given only to those close to the police advisor.

Another embarrassment is that the Intelligence chief and the Home Secretary are being sidestepped in major decisions. Many in the police believe that the state could have avoided the ‘gold smuggling’ incident altogether if it paid heed to Intelligence inputs.

Srivastava had Chief Secretary rank and can summon any official or file. This has also irked a section of officers who believe the creation of a new power centre will hamper the smooth functioning of the department.

It is said that the posting of Sanjay M Kaul as Principal Secretary, Home, was at the behest of Srivastava. The posting was done even when T K Jose was the Home Secretary. Many believe that the recent allegations were all triggered by decisions taken by Kaul.

CM refutes charges

The chief minister on Monday refuted the charge that Srivastava was behind the flash check at KSFE.

"The advisor cannot play any role in the day-to-day activities of institutions under the Home Department. He cannot control anything directly. No one needs to report to him nor anyone is bound to take orders from him," he said.

Vijayan also termed as "false" reports that it was Srivastava who was behind the amendment to the Kerala Police Act, which the government had to eventually withdraw.

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