The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report on the Kerala Police deals on many events has come to a very serious situation with the Congress MLA PT Thomas raising the issue in Assembly. He alleged that there was corruption in the deals, and the chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan has dismissed it as an opposition allegation. Thereby hangs a tale.
PT Thomas said the DGP Loknath Behera is involved in it and there was an unholy alliance between the DGP and Keltron . ASI's and SI's 30 quarters were to be built and the centre had allotted funds for this. The funds were misused in building villas for the DGP and ADGP. Keltron had given Rs.35 lakhs for a product which was to have been the work of Securities of India Pvt.Ltd. It was bought for Rs.8.96 lakhs and handed over to Keltron for Rs.35 lakhs. These are the main allegations of Thomas. The chief minister in reply to Thomas in the assembly said the centre had given Rs.4.35 crore for constructing the buildings and from the allotment 14.4 lakhs will be available for construction of these quarters since the funds were not enough to meet ASI's and SI's construction work, it was diverted to construction of villas for top officials of the police. About Keltron's functioning an investigation once completed can only be answered by the government.
That these statements of the chief minister don't hold, is obvious. It amounts to playing down the findings of the CAG. And the chief minister declared publicly no case against him exists in court, which is not the truth because the Lavalin case is pending before the Supreme Court. The court verdict could be in favour of Pinarayi or against him. It is not for the public to speak. It can be recalled that the Lavalin case has been pending before the SC for a long time and there are rumours that the CPM had struck a deal with the BJP and that is why the CBI is delaying the case. It can be dismissed as a grapevine. But the question is whether Pinarayi is guilty in the Lavalin case and in the present case of allegations against Loknath Behera which will prove Pinarayi's involvement in the police case. All hell had broken out in the Lavalin case and in the present case involving the police top brass it could lead to Pinarayi himself.
As things stand, Pinarayi Vijayan can win the panchayat elections and later the assembly elections. The Muslim League cadres are bound to support the CPM for the bold stand the CPM had taken against CAA. Pinarayi was the first chief minister to challenge the central government on this issue. And he has ministers who have been clean by common standards. This is different from the previous government which was denied a second term by the people thanks to the allegations against their ministers. The CPM campaign was against corruption of all sorts and was led by Achuthanandan, the oldest communist leader today. The Jacobites have also changed their stand ; they are in CPM's favour today. Which means a majority of the Muslims and a section of Christians will root for the CPM. The Muslim League and the Christians supported the Congress in the last elections wholeheartedly.
Things may change depending on the outcome of two things : the Lavalin case and the present issue of the CAG report and its consequences. It is very important considering the move of the BJP. As a party it cannot win more than one seat in the assembly elections. Its stand is important. It can pull off a few more votes: and it will be at the cost of the Congress. Already there are demands that were raised by the BJP's Kerala leaders for the centre’s action against the Kerala government pertaining to the present case against the police forces.
In short, the present case could turn into a major election issue. There is no way the media can predict the turn of events. Willy nilly, this could be the event that would change the CPM's course. Kodiyeri Balakrishnan is in no way expected to succeed Pinarayi, for his children are embroiled in scandals which will turn against him. Vaikom Viswan is too old. M A Baby, former minister, is said to be unacceptable to Kodiyeri and Pinarayi. So the CPM will be in trouble.
Loknath Behera had asked the state government to find out who had leaked out news on the Kerala police. The government has acted as the factotum of Behera ! The government is said to be probing certain media persons’ involvement in the leak and certain policemen are said to be in league with them. Certain leaders of the Congress are said to be involved.
To cut matters short, the coming weeks will show which way Kerala will go. It could be a serious problem for Pinarayi or it could be a triumph for him. The Congress doesn't have cadres like the CPM or even the BJP. This will be a serious problem. If it had cadres enough to make this scandal a talking point to the masses it would have a much better chance in the next elections. The fronts led by the CPM and the Congress have alternated in forming government for decades.
Will the pattern be broken? It is for the Keralites to decide. The least said the better about Behera and Pinarayi.
The facts and views in the article are those of the writer.