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Kerala Vigilance chief seeks whistleblowers’ protection for self

Tuesday, Nov 29, 2016,16:05 IST By metrovaartha A A A

Thiruvananthapuram | In an unusual action, Kerala Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau chief and DGP Jacob Thomas, who has taken a tough stand against corrupt politicians including ex-ministers and bureaucrats, has sought whistleblowers protection for himself from the Centre.

Thomas has sent a letter to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Chief Secretary S M Vijayanand requesting them to urge the Centre “to grant him adequate protection from being harassed and put under any kind of pressure while exposing departmental corruption and irregularities by public functionaries,” official sources told PTI here.

According to Whistleblowers Protection Act 2011, the “Central government shall ensure that no person or a public servant who has made a disclosure under this Act is victimised by initiation of any proceedings or otherwise merely on the ground that such person or a public servant had made a disclosure or rendered assistance in inquiry under this Act.”

The Act, which received Presidential assent on May 9, 2014, also states that if any person was being victimised or likely to be victimised for making disclosures or rendered assistance under the Act, he may, file an application before the Competent Authority seeking redress in the matter.

“And such authority shall take such action, as deemed fit and may give suitable directions to the concerned public servant or the public authority, as the case may be, to protect such person from being victimised or avoid his victimisation,” it says.

The demand of the senior most IPS officer in the state assumes significance in the wake of a series of inquiries launched by the anti-corruption watchdog, including those against some top bureaucrats.

Interestingly, Thomas was the first IPS officer in the state to get whistleblowers protection from the Union government in 2005 after he brought to light corruption in the Kerala State Civil Supplies Corporation while serving as its managing director.

Advocate D B Binu, a state-based RTI activist, said even two years after the much-awaited Whistleblowers Protection Act came into existence, it was yet to be fully operational in the country.

“There is no concrete system to protect whistleblowers in our country right now. If a person gets threat and harassment for whistleblowing a corruption, will anybody else be ready to follow his footsteps?” he told PTI.

“Whistleblowers play a significant role in anti-corruption drives. They face lot of threats and harassment while exposing corruption. This is much high in the case if an insider, who whistleblows about the corruption of a system by standing within it,” he said.

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