The simmering war between Kerala chief minister Oomen Chandy and DG rank IPS officer Jacob Thomas has taken a new turn with the latter seeking state Chief Secretary Jiji Thomson’s permission to initiate legal action against the CM for having made ‘offensive’ comments against him. Indianmandarins has learnt that Thomas has drafted the letter after consulting legal experts and has ensured that it comes within the confines of the All India Service (Conduct) Rules.
Two months ago, Thomas was removed as the head of the state fire and rescue services following his refusal to grant non-objection certificates for as amny as 70 high rises in Kerala which failed to meet the safety guidelines of the National Building Code NBC). This disrupted the repuation of Chandy and Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala among builders. At that point, Chandy called the officer ‘anti-people’, pinpointed some of his failures and took ‘credit’ for removing him from the post.
This only made Thomas dig in his heels and welcome the Vigilance Court order for further inquiry into the bar bribery case against K M Mani. Chandy responded by publicly stating “he knows how to handle such officers and no one needs any concern about that.’’ Subsequently, the government has issued two show cause notices against Thomas for criticizing the government.
But the CM is once again seen on the wrong side of the wicket. Two weeks back, newly-appointed chief of the Fire and Rescue Services Anil Kant, an ADGP rank officer, ratified Thomas’ decision not to issue NOC to high rises that failed to comply with stipulated safe measures. Thomas had insisted that buildings above 24 meters height should have safety provisions as per the National Building Code (NBC) 2005.
The Anil Kant report to the Home Secretary has stated that “the site and final non-objection certificates to high rises (above 24 meters) could not be issued since June 2015 as they have not complied with the safety steps in the NBC. It is the responsibility of the department to ensure fire safety provisions in the high rises in order to safeguard the lives of the occupants or visitors.’’
Thomas is now appointed as managing director of Kerala Police Housing Construction Corporation, a post which had been previously held by a junior officer.