Lok Ayukta full bench to hear fund 'misuse' case against CM on April 12

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Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan I Photo: Ridhin Damu/ Mathrubhumi

Thiruvananthapuram: The full bench Lok Ayukta will consider the case against Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and other ministers regarding the alleged misappropriation of the Chief Minister's Distress Relief Fund (CMDRF) on April 12.

The case was referred to a larger bench as there were differences of opinion between justices on the basic issue of whether the decisions taken by the cabinet can be subjected to investigation under the provisions of the Kerala Lok Ayukta Act, 1999 and the merits of the allegations.

The case will be considered by a bench of Lok Ayukta and both Upa-Lok Ayukta.

Earlier, Kerala Leader of the Opposition VD Satheesan on Friday termed as "bizarre" the verdict of the Lok Ayukta in a case alleging misuse of the Chief Minister's Distress Relief Fund (CMDRF).

"This is a very bizarre, unfortunate, and strange judgement. This will destroy the credibility of an anti-corruption mechanism in Kerala. And the Lok Ayukta is losing its credibility. This is the last resort of the people against corruption. There is no other mechanism in the state", LoP Satheesan said during a press briefing.

LoP asked, "They are having differences of opinion. Why should they send it to the full bench on merit? Can they not send it on maintainability questions? The maintainability question is already decided."

"The complainant filed this case in 2018 and in 2019, then after three years, in 2022, the case was still before the Court. And from 2022 February 5th to March 18th, there were arguments from both sides on merit, not on maintainability. But unfortunately, after completing the arguments on March 18th, the judgement was reserved. After one year, it is still pending", Satheesan said.

The opposition leader alleged that even after one year the judgement was delivered only after the complainant approached the High Court. The HC asked the complainant to approach the Lok Ayukta. And it was then the Lok Ayukta delivered the judgement. Satheesan then questioned the one-year gap in the case.

Apart from the Chief Minister, 18 ministers from the first LDF government (2016-21) and the then Chief Secretary were named respondents. (ANI)

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