Kerala IPS officer, Jacob Thomas, ‘demoted’ for taking on builder lobby


An IPS officer in Kerala, who took on builders over safety standards in buildings and shopping malls, has been removed from his post as the state’s fire and rescue services chief.

Jacob Thomas, a DGP-rank IPS officer, has now been given an ADGP-rank officer posting as the managing director of the Kerala Police Housing Construction Corporation.

“I had acted only for the safety of the people. I was removed for having implemented the law. This transfer is demotion. I will decide on future course after getting the transfer order,” Thomas was quoted by Indian Express.

In June, Thomas was shunted out of the state’s Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau just when the investigation against Finance Minister K M Mani in the bar bribery case had reached a crucial stage.

His transfer from the Anti-Corruption Bureau in January 2015 was described as promotion by the Kerala government since he was being moved from an ADGP-rank to the DGP-rank post. Eight months later, Thomas is back to being where he was in January this year.

In his new role as the head of the state fire and rescue services, he reportedly began to act tough against the builders ‘who did not comply with the national building code.’

There were also reports that Thomas had found that malls and apartments owned by powerful groups were not following the mandatory safety standards.

Kerala’s Matrabhumi newspaper said that several ministers had sought his removal from the post as Thomas had taken a firm stand that the criteria recommended by the Fire Force must be strictly followed while constructing buildings.

“There were allegations that he was shifted from Vigilance as he had tried to influence the bar bribery case,” the paper said.

Kerala cabinet met yesterday to approve his transfer to the new post. S Anil Kumar will be the new head of fire and rescue services

Thomas was also known for not giving NOC for several buildings which failed to comply with safety guidelines. Many feel that the Kerala’s builder lobby turned against him after he launched a safety audit for the high-rises in the state.