Trouble continues to mount for Anoop Jacob, Minister for Food and Civil supplies and Registration and Kerala Congress (Jacob) leader.
The latest in the series of problems facing him is Saturday’s Thrissur Vigilance Court order for a preliminary inquiry into allegations that the Minister shielded and promoted a registration department official, whose actions caused losses to the State exchequer.
The same Vigilance Court had, in early January, ordered an inquiry into allegations that the Minister and his colleagues in the party raised illegal funds from wholesale ration dealers and took bribes for posting district supply officers. Similar accusations had come up against civil supplies ministers in the past too, said Johny Nellore, working president of the party, who discounted recent allegations of corruption and attributed them to a caucus working against him and his ministerial colleague.
“I have even petitioned Chief Minister Oommen Chandy to uncover the forces that are out to destroy Kerala Congress (J)”, he told The Hindu on Saturday.
Mr. Anoop’s induction into the State Cabinet had raised a lot of hope among the youth and the Minister has lived up to these expectations despite early hiccups, said Mr. Nellore, who some consider to be a rival to Mr. Anoop within the party.
He said he rated the Minister above-average because he handled a sensitive ministry addressing complex issues like shortage of rice and steep inflation.
However, a senior department official said the Minister had fumbled on market intervention with his cronies deciding on who would man key posts in organisations like the Kerala State Civil Supplies Corporation.
He said the Minister appeared to be in the hands of a group that had only transfers and postings on its mind.
He alleged that there might have been large-scale diversion of subsidised items meant to be sold through Supplyco outlets. “These accusations have come up against other ministers in the past and may be discounted,” said a keen Kerala Congress (J) watcher in Moovattupuzha.
He said that Anoop had not been able to live up to his father’s legacy. Anoop was propelled to the centre-stage following his father T. M. Jacob’s untimely death in October 2011. The party enthusiast said that Jacob senior had a great political acumen and called into question his son’s ability to assess situations and his apparent lack of patience when it came to making decisions.
There was nobody who could overawe the late Mr. Jacob, he said. He pointed out that Mr. Jacob had taken bold decisions with far-reaching consequences, a case in point being the decision on the Pre-Degree Board.
Host of advisors
A. Jayasankar, advocate and political commentator, blamed Mr. Anoop’s host of advisors and his lack of experience for his troubles.