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The Congress-led opposition today staged a walkout in Kerala Assembly after an adjournment motion over allegation of irregularities by Vigilance Director Jacob Thomas was not allowed, with Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan coming out in defence of the offical. Vijayan, who also holds the home portfolio, said some people wanted Thomas to be ousted from the post, "but that is not going to happen". He was replying to a notice for an adjournment motion moved on the matter by the Opposition UDF, which alleged that the administration had come to astandstill due to several actions of Thomas against senior IAS officers in the state. On the opposition charge that Thomas had not disclosed in his asset declaration for 2016 possession of about 50 cents of land in his name at Virudhunagardistrict in Tamil Nadu, Vijayan said he did not have facts about the matter and could not take any action based on media reports. "Government will examine the issue...
Jacob was an officer who initiated action against the corrupt in the state and government has no plan to remove him," Vijayan said. However, the Chief Minister said the High Court itself had pointed out certain lapses in the functioning of Vigilance and had suggested necessary changes in its working. The Government would give the freedom to Vigilance to do its duty in a transparent manner, he said, adding it is committed to take stern action against corruption. Seeking leave for the motion, M Vincent (Congress) alleged that Thomas concealed facts about his true wealth from the assets declaration and that he had also served as director of private company in violation of service rules. Quoting media reports and from some documents, he alleged that Thomas had land at Rajapalayam taluk at Virudhunagardistrict in Tamil Nadu. After the Chief Minister's reply, Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan refused leave for the motion, leading to the Opposition walkout. Intervening in the issue, opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala alleged that the administration had virtually come to a standstill due to the functioning of the Vigilance department under Thomas. He said the opposition has no problems in action being taken against corrupt officials. "But due to personal vendetta, Thomas was taking action against senior IAS officers, resulting in a stalemate in the administration," he alleged.
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