According to the writ petition filed by one D Francis, who claims to be a member of an anti-corruption organisation, Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan used public funds to book air tickets for his trips to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the United States of America (US) that were ‘personal’ in nature. Following the petitions, the Kerala High Court has put the Chief Minister under the scanner, according to reports.
The case would be heard by the bench of Justice P Somarajan on April 30. The court has meanwhile asked state government officials for a response to the petition.
The petitioner, in his writ petition, alleged the Vijayan had, for his trips which were ‘personal’ in nature, used funds from the government treasury amounting to Rs 93,295 on his trip to the UAE in December 2016 and similarly Rs 3,82,807 was spent on his US trip in July 2017 from the same source.
“It is not known whether the initial payments related to the above-said journeys were made by himself or somebody else on behalf of him. Even though the petitioner’s advocate repeatedly made requests, the Chief Minister’s Office has not disclosed the source for such spending,” the petition alleged.
“Being a public servant, he is duty bound to disclose the source for all such expenses especially while he is holding the public office. Not only that, by abusing his official position as chief minister, he made pecuniary benefit by way of reimbursements after making his above said personal visits without any public interest,” it added.
Though as per local media reports both these chief minister’s trips were official trips, the writ petition asked for a vigilance investigation into finding the source of the funds spent after which the Kerala High Court sought a reply from the state in this matter.
Last year the same Kerala High Court had slammed the Chief Minister for its high-handedness and brutality in dealing with Hindu devotees present at the Sabarimala shrine.
Soon after that, the Kerala High Court while hearing a petition seeking to restrict the entry of non-Hindus in Sabarimala temple, had expressed its displeasure over the police excesses at the Sabarimala temple. The Kerala High Court while hearing a similar petition in the past had warned the Communist Kerala government led by Pinarayi Vijayan for its undue interference in Sabarimala’s religious affairs and asked the government to restrict itself to providing adequate security to the devotees visiting the shrine.