Kerala

Kerala Govt suspends DGP Jacob Thomas on corruption charges

Jacob Thomas.

Jacob Thomas.   | Photo Credit: S. Mahinsha

Vigilance investigates 2012 dredger purchase when he was ports director

The Kerala Government on late Thursday suspended Director General of Police Jacob Thomas on charges of conspiracy, corruption and bid-rigging in the procurement of costly dredging equipment when he was Director of Ports (DOP) during the 2011-12 period.

Simultaneously, the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau (VACB) has opened a criminal enquiry against Mr Thomas on the suspicion of having bent procurement rules to award the contract to the “highest bidder”, among other allied charges.

It has also accused Mr Thomas of having conspired to accord undue pecuniary advantage to the vendor at the expense of the public exchequer.

The agency also alleged in its First Information Report (FIR) that Mr Thomas had modified the technical specifications of the required machinery to favour his "chosen supplier".

The Government order dated December 20 said that Mr Thomas was “likely to influence the investigating officers and tamper evidence” as he had headed the VACB briefly in 2016-17.

The Government has also initiated disciplinary action against Mr Thomas under All India Services (Discipline and Appeal) Rules, 1969.

The anti-corruption case against Mr Thomas has its genesis in a damning audit report authored by K. M. Abraham, IAS, when he was Additional Chief Secretary, Finance.

The report pertained to the purchase of cutting suction dredger (CSD) to keep Kerala’s waterways navigable and manage silting. It said that the public exchequer had lost money due to improper estimate, suspicious fixing of the annual maintenance contract, and exclusion of the vendor from paying taxes and duties.

The audit also criticised Mr Thomas for his alleged failure to ensure that the vendor supplied the essential but costly discharge lines required to remove the dredged mud. The agency has pegged the “illegitimate gain” reaped by the supplier at ₹2.76 crore and the total loss to the Government at ₹14.96 crore.

Lawyers engaged by Mr Thomas said the officer would contest the charges against him.

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Printable version | Mar 28, 2020 3:21:51 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/kerala-govt-suspends-dgp-jacob-thomas-on-corruption-charges/article25797317.ece

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