Kerala HC allows Lokayukta to examine PPE kit purchase during early days of Covid-19

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Kochi: Kerala High Court on Thursday said that Lokayukta holds power to investigate complaints regarding corruption in public offices. The remark from the high court came in the wake of a petition filed by the State Health Department questioning Lokayukta's intervention in a case registered over alleged corruption in the purchase of PPE kits and other equipment in the early days of Covid-19 spread.

Earlier, Veena S Nair, a Congress leader from Thiruvananthapuram, filed a complaint before Kerala Lokayukta alleging corruption in the purchase of PPE kits by the Kerala Health Department. Lokayukta decided to probe the matter.

Principal secretary and secretary to the Health Department approached the High Court against the Lokayukta probe. They claimed that Lokayukta does not have the jurisdiction to entertain this complaint. Further, they stated that medical items were bought during the Covid pandemic under the Disaster Management Act. But a division bench headed by the Chief Justice of the High Court rejected these arguments.

The High Court held that the Lokayukta has the power to consider complaints regarding allegations of corruption. Medical equipment was indeed purchased under the Disaster Management Act. However, there is a need to investigate whether there is any corruption involved in the matter or not.

The court also questioned why the petitioners are worried about an investigation.

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