Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala Lokayukta is expected to deliver its verdict in a case against Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Friday.
The case involves mishandling of the Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund (CMDRF).
It’s been a year since this case has been waiting for the verdict and it was only after the petitioner approached the Kerala High Court last week seeking its intervention that things have now speeded up.
The High Court asked the petitioner to approach the Lokayukta with his petition and it was after this ruling came, that the Lokayukta decided to take up the case on Friday.
Public activist R.S. Sasikumar had filed the case in 2018, which pertains to misusing the funds in the CMDRF.
Sasikumar had alleged that the money was given to those who were not supposed to get the relief. These included the family of a deceased CPI(M) legislator, the family of a top leader from a Left ally who passed away, and also to a Kerala Police officer who died when his vehicle met with an accident while accompanying then top leader of the CPI(M), Kodiyeri Balakrishnan.
Incidentally, during the fag end of the first Vijayan government the then State Higher Education Minister K.T. Jaleel had to quit following the Lokayukta verdict indicting him for misuse of official powers.
But the saving grace for Jaleel was the verdict came after the voting to the April 2021 Assembly elections had taken place.
So all eyes are on Friday when the two judge bench of the Lokayukta meets.
The plea to the anti-corruption ombudsman was filed in September 2018 and the hearing ended on March 18, 2022. Since then the verdict has been kept pending.
This verdict is expected at a time when Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan continues to sit on the Bill that tweaked the powers of the Kerala Lokayukta.