Notice to Kerala government on relief funds

Lokayukta gets tough on CMDRF misuse'.

Thiruvananthapuram: The Lokayukta has sent notices to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and other ministers on the basis of a complaint that the government has been misusing the chief minister's distress relief fund.

The Lokayukta full bench headed by Justice Pius C. Kuriakose accepted the complaint submitted by former Kerala University syndicate member R.S. Sasikumar and sent notices to 17 persons asking them to be present before the bench on February 15.

The complainant has alleged that funds were sanctioned without even an application to the families of some deceased, including the late NCP leader Uzhavoor Vijayan, former Chengannur MLA K.K. Ramachandran Nair and a police man who escorted CPM state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan. This was done without including the subject in the agenda of the cabinet meeting, he alleged.

Agriculture Minister V.S. Sunil Kumar, Industries Minister E.P. Jayarajan and Transport Minister A.K. Saseendran were excluded from the notice.

Mr Sunil Kumar was not present at the cabinet meeting then and the other two were not ministers at that time.

Mr George Poonthottam, who appeared for the petitioner, argued that the relief fund was not the chief minister's private property.

The money from the fund can be utilised as per rules only, he said. Director- general of prosecution Manjeri Sreedharan Pillai, who appeared for the government, argued that it was the prerogative of the government to decide the disbursement of the relief fund.

The case was referred to the full bench as there was a difference of opinion between Lokayukta Pious Kuriakose and Upalokayukta K.P. Balachandran on whether to admit the case during the hearing held on November 22. The full bench comprises Justice Kuriakose, Justice Balachandran and Justice A.K. Basheer.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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