Top Kerala police official unhappy over frequent transfers

Thiruvananthapuram, Sep 17 (IANS) Senior police officer Jacob Thomas on Thursday expressed unhappiness over his transfer to the Kerala Police Housing and Construction Corporation from the Kerala Fire and Rescue Forces.

Thomas, who holds the rank of Director General of Police, said the latest transfer was a sort of demotion for him, since the corporation was earlier headed by an officer of ADGP rank.

However, Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala said the decision to transfer Thomas on Wednesday was a collective decision of the state cabinet.

“In the Vigilance and Anti-corruption Bureau, we launched a new scheme to tackle corruption and very soon I was moved out. In the new post (Fire and Rescue Forces), I had begun to bring about changes but now I have been moved out. Moreover, the post now given to me is headed by an ADGP. Hence, this is a sort of a demotion for me,” Thomas told the media here.

During his stint with the Vigilance Bureau, Thomas took a tough stand in the infamous bar scam case, in which state Finance Minister K.M. Mani faced the heat. Just before a final report in the case was to be submitted, Thomas was moved out on the pretext that he had been promoted to the DGP rank.

He was made the head of Kerala Fire and Rescue Forces, a post normally given to those who do not toe the political line.

However, Thomas allegedly found himself on the wrong side of powerful real estate lobby, when he insisted on strict implementation of fire and safety rules. After only three months, he was asked to head the Kerala Police Housing and Construction Corporation.

Leader of the opposition, V.S. Achuthanandan, on Thursday said Thomas’ transfer indicated that the state government was dancing to the tunes of builders.

“Most high-rise and under-construction buildings do not follow fire and safety rules. When Thomas began to take tough decisions, the builders’ lobbies turned against him and pressurised the government to remove him,” Achuthanandan said in a press release here.

However, Chennithala told reporters here on Thursday “He (Thomas) was on leave for a while and since it is a key post, we decided to fill it. Moreover transfers and postings are vested with the state government and there is nothing beyond that.”

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