Speculation was rife in the media on Friday evening that the State government had transferred Director of the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau (VACB) M. R. Ajith Kumar. However, the administration is yet to confirm the report officially.
The agency has been under an unflattering light after plainclothes Vigilance enforcers hustled away P. Sarith, an accused in the UAE gold smuggling case, to a VACB facility. The Palakkad police were left in the dark about the Vigilance move. They had launched a missing person search after Sarith’s co-accused Swapna Suresh reported his “kidnapping”. Later, the VACB issued an official statement that Sarith had accompanied the officers on his own for questioning in connection with the LIFE Mission graft case.
Soon, Sarith termed the VACB statement a “brazen lie”. He said the plainclothes officers had not identified themselves. They hauled him out of his home and hustled him away in an unmarked vehicle to the local VACB office. At the office, the plainclothes officers mistreated him. He suffered an arm injury in the process. Later, Sarith alleged that they confiscated his mobile phone. The incident had proved embarrassing to the government.
The Opposition had alleged that the VACB had overstepped its constitutional brief and attempted to find out who had contacted Sarith after Swapna made her recent damning revelations. They tried to link the Chief Minister’s Office to the episode. They described that action as a misuse of the authority of the State.