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Friday, June 9, 2023

Lokayukta delays justice in Pinarayi Vijayan’s case: Joseph & Rashid

Janmabhumi summarized how Justice Cyriac Joseph and Justice Harun Al Rashid shamed Kerala Lokayukta. These former judges are part of the Lokayukta but failed to pass a judgment in the Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund fraud case. They destroyed the very nature of the Lokayukta, which was established to keep corrupt public servants in check.

In his complaint filed in 2018, the petitioner, former Kerala University syndicate member R S Sashi Kumar, alleged that the arbitrary decision to provide financial assistance from the relief fund smacked favoritism and was unilaterally taken by Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan. These funds were allocated to the families of the late leaders of Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) Uzhavoor Vijayan, former Chengannur CPM MLA K K Ramachandran Nair, and policeman P Praveen, who died in a road accident while escorting former CPM state secretary (late) Kodiyeri Balakrishnan. NCP is part of the current leftist regime in Kerala.

While admitting the complaint in 2019, the Kerala Lokayukta issued notice to Pinarayi Vijayan and a couple of the then-state ministers. Though the trial ended a year ago, the Kerala Lokayukta refused to pronounce its verdict yet. The petitioner, meanwhile, approached the Kerala High Court against the inordinate delay on the part of the Lokayukta in delivering its verdict.

Both judges today concurred they could not reach a consensus on whether the petition falls within the ambit of the Lokayukta! Incidentally, they mention technicalities after hearing the matter for one year and delaying their judgment for another year. Suspiciously, these Abrahamic judges left the case to a three-member bench that included themselves.

The Lokayukta had to issue a verdict on whether the Kerala Chief Minister was guilty. During more than a year of deliberations, the two judges never thought that they were not entitled to hear the case. Moreover, media-hungry Joseph and Rashid made unprecedented remarks during the argument.

Joseph asked during the argument whether the government thought it would not have to answer the use of public money. Rasheed claimed the accused decided to allocate relief funds without proper deliberation. He proclaimed the government deserved punishment.

During the hearing, Joseph, the Catholic lobbyist, verbally observed that proper criteria were not followed while releasing the money from the relief fund. The financial status of the alleged victim (who claimed relief) and their family was not considered before releasing public relief funds. This led to usurping of public funds meant for the financially weak.

Joseph also noted that the Chief Minister releasing the amounts without waiting for a cabinet decision was against the law. These funds were released without even mentioning the matter during cabinet meetings. Vijayan has a history of Marxist authoritarianism, and the 2016 communist cabinet ministers were not reinstated after they retained power in May 2021. As mentioned, the Relief Fund scam happened in 2018.

All the latest ministers, except Vijayan, are new to the cabinet. Even the layman understands what our honorable former judges do not. How can one blame the government when the release of vast amounts from the relief fund was not even tabled before the cabinet? Isn’t Vijayan and a few bureaucrats alone responsible for the fraud?

Vijayan knew that the verdict would be against him. He used the government and tried to pass an Ordinance to clip Lokayukta’s powers. That move failed when Governor Arif Mohammad Khan refused to sign Marxist anti-citizen diktats.

Abrahamic Judges

Joseph is best remembered for his allegedly blatant attempts and success at protecting the accused for a long time in the infamous Sister Abhaya murder case of 1992. Reports suggested he created hurdles and intervened in the Narco Analysis Lab’s findings. The former Supreme Court judge aimed to save the accused Catholic Father Thomas Kottoor and nun Sephy who killed young Sister Abhaya for witnessing the accused in a compromising position in the convent’s kitchen at night.

Joseph belonged to the same Christian denomination and confessed that ‘his religion was supreme to him.’ During his 18-year service, Joseph allegedly left over 1000 cases without writing a judgment.

Congress has long alleged that Rashid is an old communist ally with close links to jihad sympathizers like Kodiyeri Balakrishnan. Keralites are foolish to expect Vijayan’s punishment when the whole ecosystem allegedly works for him.

Justice Delayed

Can the common Keralite trust the Lokayukta to deliver justice? The justices claimed they were unsure whether the petition was within their scope. The judgment failed to answer why they sat on the case for a year without a resolution. As former judges, they have lost public credibility and allegedly destroyed our judiciary.

Regarding delays, Vijayan faces several fraud charges that began with the SNC-Lavalin corruption case and the recent Swapna Suresh gold smuggling scandal. In the Lavalin case, the original agreement was signed by Vijayan in 1996 when he was the power minister. In October 2022, HinduPost reported how the case was adjourned for a record 32nd time.

Incidentally, a CBI special court took 28 years to pronounce a verdict, which it did in December 2020 when it awarded life imprisonment to Sister Abhaya’s killers. By June 2022, the Kerala High Court suspended the judgment and granted bail to both accused.

By failing to convict corrupt public figures promptly, are Abrahamic judges delaying justice?

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