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Opinion Columnists 25 Jun 2020 Dilli ka Babu | Ker ...
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Dilli ka Babu | Kerala cop hangs up his khaki

Published Jun 25, 2020, 6:06 pm IST
Updated Jun 25, 2020, 6:06 pm IST
Observers note that Mr Thomas was a plain-speaking cop, who fell foul of the political establishment pretty early
Jacob Thomas
 Jacob Thomas

Controversial Kerala IPS officer Jacob Thomas ended his colourful career in a headlining-making manner.

On his last day, Mr Thomas slept on his office floor, before beginning what he terms as the next phase of his life  as the legendary Parshuram!

 

Throughout his 35-year long service in the IPS, Mr Thomas wore the khaki uniform for only about five years, during the initial years.

Much of the rest of his career was spent on deputation in various institutions and public sector undertakings. His last posting was as managing director of a state PSU, which manufactures metal tools and similar products.

Observers note that Mr Thomas was a plain-speaking cop, who fell foul of the political establishment pretty early. Later, he had to face several corruption charges, including encroachment of forest land. His career was salvaged somewhat when chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan appointed him as vigilance director.

 

During this stint, Mr Thomas initiated probes against a minister and also many IAS and IPS officers, which also led to his removal from the post.

He then openly criticised the government and wrote a book on his career, without taking administrative permission. He was placed under suspension for nearly two years before being reinstated to the current post last year.

After his retirement, Mr Thomas is unlikely to fade away from the limelight, say observers. He will likely continue to his tirade against the system, perhaps even more freely.

 

Don’t question us: UP

The Uttar Pradesh government is notoriously thin-skinned when it comes criticism from any quarter. A retired IAS officer, Surya Pratap Singh, has discovered that his tweet accusing the government of low testing to the “hide true Covid figure” has landed him in trouble.

He has been booked under the Disaster Management Act and the Epidemic Act for allegedly spreading rumours about the pandemic.

Mr Singh is an IAS officer of the 1982 batch and known to be a whistleblower during his career. In his 25-year career as a babu, he was transferred 54 times!

 

Sources say that Mr Singh was vocal against any government that was in power in the state and had raised questions about alleged corruption in the government during the Samajwadi Party government under Akhilesh Yadav.

At that time, however, BJP leaders praised him. However, now that the BJP is in the saddle, it is uncomfortable with the forthright retired officer airing his opinions on social media platforms. Those who know Mr Singh say it is unlikely that the government’s action will deter him, but it also sends a signal to others who may be inspired by Mr Singh to ask uncomfortable questions.

 

Call for MBBS babus

The Centre is contemplating using the services of IAS, IPS and IRS officers who have a degree in medicine in the battle against the deadly coronavirus epidemic raging through the country.

The idea is to use their combined administrative skills and training in medicine and deploy them in hospitals treating Covid-19 patients, especially in the worst-affected states.

According to sources, the minister of state for personnel, Jitendra Singh, had asked his staff a month ago to prepare a list of such babus whose services can be utilised by the Centre and state governments if needed. However, work on it has begun only now.

 

In Mumbai, sources say, four IAS officers were recently given charge of monitoring state-run hospitals in the city for effective management of the epidemic.

Such a list would certainly help states like Maharashtra and Gujarat which have the highest mortality rates in the country from the coronavirus.
Most babus have reportedly welcomed this step.

It is also aligned with the Modi sarkar’s efforts to bring in more domain expertise in the government. however, while such officers will be needed to fight the pandemic, the question in many minds is: who will look after the administration and law and order?

 

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