The Kerala Lok Ayukta today issued a split verdict on the alleged CMDRF misuse case involving Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and his cabinet colleagues and referred the matter to a larger bench.

In the order pronounced today, Lok Ayukta Justice Cyriac Joseph and Justice Harun-Ul-Rashid said the matter was being referred to a larger bench as there was a difference of opinion whether the decisions of the cabinet can be subjected to its investigation and also on the merits of the case.

"As there is difference of opinion between us on the basic issue whether the action of respondents 2 to 18 in taking the impugned decisions as members of the Cabinet can be subjected to investigation under the provisions of the Kerala Lok Ayukta Act, 1999 and on the merits of the allegations raised by the complainant, we are constrained to place this complaint for investigation by the Lok Ayukta and both the Upa-Lok Ayuktas together as required under Section 7(1) of the Kerala Lok Ayukta Act, 1999," the order said.

Lok Ayukta had in 2019 January admitted a complaint alleging the misuse of the Chief Ministers Distress Relief Fund (CMDRF) filed by one R S Sashi Kumar.

The complaint alleged "favouritism" in sanctioning financial aid from the fund to NCP leader late Uzhavoor Vijayan, former CPI(M) MLA, late K K Ramachandran Nair, and to the family of Praveen a civil police officer who died in an accident while undertaking escort duty for ruling CPI(M) state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan.

The complainant sought disqualification of the Chief Minister and the other ministers for misusing the fund.

With PTI Inputs