Thiruvananthapuram: An excise inspector has been stripped of the chief minister’s medal after he was accused of demanding and receiving a bribe from a bootlegger.
The unusual move has made S. Ashok Kumar the first excise personnel to lose the coveted honor.
Kumar received the medal in 2010 for exemplary service but was caught in a bribery scandal last year when an accused claimed that the officer and two others forced him to pay up Rs 4,62 lakh.
Kumar was suspended along with his colleagues but was reinstated six months later.
The scandal stems from the seizure of 28 cans of illicit spirit from the house of the accused near Tiruvalla.
Kumar was attached to an excise enforcement squad in Pathanamthitta at the time of the incident.
Kumar and two civil excise officers offered to let the accused go if he paid up Rs 5 lakh, the accused later told investigators from the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau (VACB).
A subsequent investigation proved that the three officers went to the house of the accused and collected the Rs 4.62 lakh his family raised by pawning gold ornaments.
The officers also took away a scooter which they claimed was used to transport 4 cans of contraband.
They were also accused of tampering with the time of the raid in the general diary entry.
The three officers were suspended from service after the vigilance officer nailed them in a report submitted to the excise commissioner.
However, Kumar was reinstated six months later and assigned to a special squad in Idukki. He still faces a department-level inquiry.
He lost the chief minister’s medal following a report from excise commissioner Rishiraj Singh to the additional chief secretary Tom Jose.