A full bench of lokayukta on Monday ordered issue of notice alleging misuse of the Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund (CMDRF). The bench consisting of lokayukta Justice Pius C Kuriakose, and upa-lokayuktas Justice K P Balachandran and Justice A K Basheer, decided to admit the complaint filed by Kerala University former syndicate member R S Sasi Kumar.
The complaint alleged favouritism in sanctioning aid from the CMDRF to former NCP leader late Uzhavoor Vijayan, former Chengannur MLA late K K Ramachandran Nair and to the family of Praveen, a civil police officer who died in an accident while escorting CPM state secretary.
Admitting the petition, the lokayukta clarified that he has not found any of the party guilty of the allegations levelled against them. He said that he has only found that there is warrant for admitting the complaint and conducting an investigation into whether anyone is guilty and whether any declaration under Section 14 is liable to be issued in respect of any of the respondents in the matter to be decided after an investigation of the allegations raised.
The full bench was constituted following a difference of opinion between the lokayukta and one of the upa-lokayuktas on whether the institution can investigate the out lay from CMDRF. The full bench finally decided on admitting the petition and ruled that the complaint was maintainable before lokayukta. It also ordered to issue notices to the respondents, including Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.
Justice Balachandran was of the view that the complaint is liable to be inquired into, and lokayukta cannot avoid conducting any investigation accepting the contention that it is a cabinet decision.
“The Chief Minister on his own has wide discretionary powers to grant funds to deserving families and the actions questioned by the petitioner were not taken by the chief minister alone but by the entire cabinet. Such administrative decisions taken by the cabinet cannot be subjected to judicial scrutiny”, Justice Basheer said dissenting with the majority decision.
The bench posted the matter for a detailed hearing on February 15.