The state government has received legal advice that it can approach court over the Lok Ayukta report against former minister KT Jaleel. According to the Advocate General, the government can approach the court as it did not get the opportunity to explain its stance. Apparently, there were lapses in the procedures by the Lok Ayukta and that they should have followed procedures similar to that in a civil court. The Advocate General claimed that the Lok Ayukta cannot simply rule to remove a minister.
Meanwhile, Jaleel who resigned after the Kerala Lok Ayukta found him guilty of nepotism and violation of oath of office said that the reason why he announced his resignation via Facebook is because he had undergone a surgery on his neck and that he was recuperating from it. According to the former minister, he has been advised a two-week rest. He added that he would meet the media once he was fine.
The Lok Ayukta’s order was based on a complaint against the former CPM Minister alleging illegal appointment of his close relative KT Adeeb as the general manager of Kerala State Minority Development Finance Corporation. Although Jaleel had filed a writ petition in the High Court against the Lok Ayukta order, it is rumoured that he decided to resign before the court ruled on it after meeting top CPM leaders. He is also said to have handed over his resignation papers to the Chief Minister’s office after the meeting.
Although the former minister said he was handing in his resignation on moral grounds, sources say that both the CPM and chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who supported him even at the height of the opposition campaign against him, finally decided that it was time for him to step down.
Jaleel, who is also the state Minority Welfare, Waqf, and Haj Minister, also hit out at an alleged "media syndicate", along with the Congress and Indian Union Muslim League, for a "witch hunt of two years" against him in his Facebook post.
Jaleel was earlier questioned by three central agencies as a "person of interest" in connection with the gold smuggling case and over alleged evasion of duty and violations of the Foreign (Contribution) Regulations Act related to consignments of dates and copies of the Holy Quran imported by the UAE consulate in Thiruvananthapuram.
"That nothing has been proven against me despite being questioned by three probe agencies validates my public life," he said in his Facebook post.
Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala of the Congress, however, questioned the delay in his resignation. "If it was about political uprightness, why did KT Jaleel take three days to resign? It was not about political uprightness but instead having no other way out," Chennithala asked speaking to reporters. Opposition parties also questioned and targeted the chief minister, stating that he cannot run away from his responsibilities. “Chief Minister Pinaryi Vijayan is an accomplice in the crime. He should also resign,” said BJP State President K Surendran.
Union Minister V Muraleedharan asked why Pinaryi was silent over Jaleel’s resignation. “The appointment was done with the knowledge of the Chief Minister, thus the CM has also violated his oath,” he said.
Meanwhile CPM State Secretary A Vijayaraghavan said the party upheld Jaleel’s decision to resign on moral grounds. He pointed out that no UDF leader had resigned when such allegations were levelled against them, citing the examples of Oommen Chandy and the palmolein case and K Babu and the solar case.
Jaleel is the fourth minister in the Pinarayi Vijayan cabinet to resign following controversies.