Vigilance inquiry against Kerala minister Jayarajan

Thiruvanathapuram,Oct14:An anti-corruption inquiry against Industries Minister E.P. Jayarajan appeared imminent on Thursday. However, the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau (VACB) remained non-committal on any such purported move.

The day began with widespread media speculation that the government had sanctioned a Vigilance probe against the Minister.

Mr. Jayarajan had made himself vulnerable to legal action after he “unfairly favoured” two of his close relatives to top posts in Public Sector Units-PSU.

The conjecture hinged mainly on an unconfirmed report that Jacob Thomas, director, Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau (VACB), had secretly met Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan at his official residence “unusually early in the day” and appraised him of the agency’s views on the politically sensitive matter. Soon, speculations about Mr. Jayarajan’s lot in government and public life intensified.

Last week, the VACB had received two petitions from the Congress and the BJP to investigate Mr. Jayarajan on the suspicion of nepotism.

 Officials said that Mr. Thomas currently held all the cards in the case. Only he was privy to the outcome of his reported meeting with the Chief Minister. The onus was on him to decide the nature of the inquiry against Mr. Jayarajan.

An anti-corruption court here has already taken cognisance of a petition against the Minister and the judge has asked the VACB to state’s its position in the matter at the earliest.

They said a preliminary inquiry against the Minister was definitely in the offing. They felt the situation necessitated the outright registration of a First Information Report against Mr. Jayarajan.

The agency had ostensibly received legal opinion that the alleged actions of the Minister attracted provisions of Sections 13 and 15 of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

If so, investigators would have to probe whether there was any conspiracy, premeditation or criminal abuse of power on the part of Mr. Jayarajan to accord undue pecuniary advantage to two of his relatives.