Vigilance registers case against ex-Kerala minister

Thiruvananthapuram: In an embarrassment to the ruling CPI(M) in Kerala, the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau today registered an FIR against party MLA and former Industries Minister E P Jayarajan in a case related to alleged nepotism in appointments to key posts in PSUs during his tenure in the state government.

The development came on a day when top party leaders, including party general secretary Sitaram Yechury and other polit bureau members, are here for the party’s ongoing Central Committee meeting.

Vigilance registered the case under the Prevention of Corruption Act after a Quick Verification and Jayarajan has been named as first accused.

His nephew Sudheer Nambiar, son of party’s Kannur MP P K Sreemathi, and Additional Chief Secretary (Industries) Paul Antony are the the second and third accused in the case.

According to Vigilance sources here, the case was registered for “violating due process of selection” while appointing Sudheer as the Managing Director in Kerala State Industrial Enterprises Ltd.

The FIR said though two other persons were shortlisted for the posts after interview and other procedures, Sudheer was selected for the post overlooking this.

The Industries Secretary had issued order appointing Sudheer allegedly as per the directive of Jayarajan, it said.

It was stated that mandatory vigilance clearance needed for appointments in such key posts were also not obtained.

When the issue became controversial, Jayarajan, party strong man from Kannur and also a confidant of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, resigned in November last year.

He represents Mattanorr constituency in the Assembly.

Meanwhile, Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala said registering FIR against Jayarajan clearly vindicated the opposition’s stand on the issue. He also wanted the role of the chief minister to be inquired.

The leader criticised Vigilance for delaying the Quick Verification in the case even though there is a Supreme Court directive to complete it within 42 days after getting the complaint.

In this case, the agency took 89 days to complete the Quick Verification and register the case, he said.