As per the list, former Health Minister KK Shylaja will contest from Vatakara constituency, while in Patahanamthitta, former minister Thomas Issac will try his luck.
The Kerala Lokayukta on Monday rejected a petition filed against Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and 17 former Cabinet ministers in connection with the alleged nepotism in releasing assistance from the Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund (CMDRF) during the previous Left Democratic Front (LDF) regime.
Rejecting the petition, the Lokayukta Bench comprising Lokayukta Justice Cyriac Joseph and Upa Lokayuktas Justice Haroon Al Rashid and Justice Babu Mathew P Joseph said that there’s no evidence to prove nepotism or corruption in granting assistance from the CMDRF.
The Lokayukta said that the Chief Minister has the authority to pay the money and that the Chief Minister and the ministers have not committed any irregularity.
“There is no evidence to prove that the CMDRF funds were misused. The Chief Minister has the right to grant a maximum amount of Rs 3 lakh from the relief fund..,” the Lokayukta said.
A former syndicate member of Kerala University RS Sasikumar has filed the complaint in 2018.Sasikumar had alleged that chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan and other ministers in his cabinet misused the CMDRF.
Sasikumar, in his complaint said the state cabinet had illegally transferred funds from the Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund (CMDRF) to the families of NCP leader Uzhavur Vijayan, former Chengannur MLA K K Ramachandran Nair, and Praveen, the escort driver of the CPI-M state secretary who died in an accident while on duty.
He also said that Uzhavur Vijayan’s family was given Rs 25 lakh and the kin of Praveen ,driver of late CPI-M leader Kodiyeri Balakrishnan was granted Rs 20 lakh. He said that Ramachandran Nair’s loan liability of Rs 9 lakh was also given from the Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund (CMDRF).
In March 2023, Lokayukta Justice Cyriac Joseph and Upa Lokayukta Justice Harun-Ul-Rashid had referred the matter to a larger bench as there was a difference of opinion among them over whether the decisions of the cabinet can be subjected to its investigation and also on the merits of the case.
Meanwhile, the interim petition filed by the petitioner asking two Upa Lokayuktas to recuse themselves from the case was also rejected on Monday.
The petitioner pointed out that the two Upa Lokayutas had released the biography of late MLA Ramachandran Nair, involved in the complaint, and hence they should recuse themselves from the case.
Reacting to the Lokayukta order, the petitioner in the case, RS Sasikumar said the verdict was expected and he would file an appeal against the decision in the High Court.