Published On: Fri, Sep 18th, 2015

Chandy justifies transfer of IPS officer

Thiruvananthapuram: With opposition alleging pressure from realtors over the transfer of an IPS officer who refused permission for high rise buildings, Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy today defended the action, saying the officer had tried to put the government to shame through his acts.

DGP Jacob Thomas

DGP Jacob Thomas

Several complaints had been received against DGP Jacob Thomas, who was recently removed as the head of Fire and Rescue Services, and many of his decisions put the government in “embarrassing” situation, Chandy told reporters here.

Thomas’s transfer from Fire and Rescue Services to the post of Managing Director of the Kerala Police Housing and Construction Corporation has triggered a row with allegations that he was transferred due to pressure from realtors.

The officer had withheld permission to high rise buildings on the ground that the department did not have a ‘sky lift’ for rescue in case of emergency.

CPI(M) veteran V S Achuthanandan yesterday alleged that Thomas was shifted due to ‘pressure from flats lobby’ as his orders were against the interests of builders.

Achuthanandan also accused state Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala and Minister for Local Administration Manjalamkuzhi Ali of being behind the transfer of Thomas.

Denying Achuthanandan’s charges, Chandy said the decision to transfer Thomas was taken by the cabinet and there was no point in singling out Chennithala and Ali.

When pointed out that the official had tried to implement the law, Chandy shot back saying, “Government’s responsibility is to fullfill the aspirations and needs of the people.”

Taking exception to Thomas citing lack of sky lifts for refusing permission for high-rise buildings, he said the responsibility to acquire the equipment was that of the government.

“It is not justifiable to deny permission for high rise buildings for the fault of the government,” he said, adding, a sum of Rs 175 crore had already been sanctioned to acquire sky lifts and also to ensure other safety measures for high rise buildings.

Besides this, Thoams, as head of the Fire and Rescue, had issued a circular that virtually prevented fire force personnel from attending to disruptions caused by natural calamities such as falling of trees on roads.

“But, refusal to attend emergency calls of people cannnot be justified. Government cannot remain a mute spectator to such action,” Chandy said, citing a recent instance when fire force personnel refused to clear Waynad-Thamarasery high range roads blocked by trees that fell due to rains.

Thomas had earlier handled the Bar bribery case, in which state Finance Minister K M Mani was allegedly involved, as the Vigilance Additional Director before being posted to the Fire and Rescue services.


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