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Kerala government accused of flood relief funds misuse, Lokayukta issues notice to CM and ministers

Kerala floods were the worst floods seen in the state in decades and people across the country had donated wholeheartedly to the CM's relief fund.

CM Pinarayi Vijayan and other state ministers have received a notice from the state Lokayukta in response to a complaint regarding the misuse of the flood relief fund by the government. The Lokayukta has accepted the complaint of misuse of the Kerala flood relief fund.

The complainant is a former Kerala University employee R S Sasikumar and has alleged that money to the tune of lakhs was authorised from the relief fund to the families of the late NCP leader Uzhavoor Vijayan, former Chengannur MLA K K Ramachandran Nair and the policeman who escorted Kodiyeri Balakrishnan without even an application from these people. He has also alleged that the decision to grant money was taken without any discussion in the Cabinet meeting.

Justice Pius C Kuriakose headed the Lokayukta bench and accepted the complaint lodged by Sasikumar. A notice has been issued to 17 ministers including the Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to be present in the court on February 15, 2019.

The petitioner’s advocate George Poonthottam contended that the relief fund was not the chief minister’s private property that could be spent arbitrarily without following the norms. It has to be granted through set procedures, he argued. However, the director of the prosecution, Manjeri Sreedharan debated that the government has full rights to spend the money it received from budgetary allocation as per its wishes.

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It is noteworthy to mention that Lokayukta and Upalokayukta held differing opinions on the matter. However, Justice Pius passed over the complaint to Upalokayuktas K P Balachandran and A K Basheer. The case will be reconsidered on February 15, 2019.

In the past, CM Pinarayi Vijayan had been accused of wrong use of Kerala flood relief fund. He was accused of using flood relief fund for his chopper ride. When the matter was highlighted to him, he brazened it out, claiming “There’s nothing wrong in this. This is a usual practice.”

The Kerala floods in August this year were the worst calamity seen in the state in decades. There was a plethora of false information and malicious propaganda during the flood attempting to spread misinformation and malice between the people. While people from all over the country had supported the relief work wholeheartedly by donating to the CM’s relief fund there was also the fake news of the UAE offering financial help and the Indian government declining it.

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OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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