Kerala crime Branch to probe Vigilance DGP’s phone tapping

Thiruvananthapuram, Oct 24 (IANS) The Kerala Police Crime Branch will investigate a complaint by Vigilance Department chief Jacob Thomas that his phone is being tapped and emails snooped into, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said here on Monday.

Vijayan said this in the state assembly when former state Home Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan sought to move an adjournment motion to discuss the grave chaos prevailing among the top brass of the state police force.

“Never before has such a situation prevailed in the police force, like now when there is total disharmony among the top brass in the state police. There is either a deep-rooted conspiracy against Thomas or the DGP is trying to clamour for some cheap publicity,” Radhakrishnan said.

“The need of the hour is an Intelligence Bureau probe by the Centre to get to the bottom of the truth,” demanded Radhakrishnan.

Thomas, who holds the rank of the Director General of Police, on Friday filed a complaint with Kerala Police chief (law and order) Loknath Behra and demanded that a probe be initiated after a newspaper reported that his mobile is being tapped and emails snooped into.

Thomas was appointed Vigilance & Anti-Corruption Bureau (VACB) director by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on May 25 — the very day Vijayan was sworn-in — and ever since the official has been the centre of attention.

Thomas is currently pursuing a good number of cases in which cabinet ministers in the previous Oommen Chandy government are involved.

Replying to the sharp criticism against his department, Vijayan hit back at the opposition, saying that Thomas faces the heat because he is pursuing some high profile cases and that he might be a target.

“The state government fully supports him. Now that his complaint is based on a newspaper report, we have decided to order a crime branch probe into the matter,” said Vijayan.

Before leading the entire opposition out of the assembly, Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala said it is strange that all this is happening to Thomas ever since he started probing the role played by E.P. Jayarajan — the powerful State Industries Minister who resigned early this month following nepotism charges.

“A mobile can be tapped only if the state Home Secretary gives permission, but here it appears that there is a divide between the police force and has led to this episode, which is of a grave nature and sadly the Chief Minister has lost control of things.”

“If a DGP is facing this, what can the ordinary people expect,” said Chennithala, leading the opposition to walk out after the Speaker disallowed a discussion on the matter.