Following the Lokayukta verdict, holding Kerala Minister KT Jaleel guilty of nepotism, the CPM and state cabinet announced their support for Jaleel and decided not to entertain demands of resignation. They claimed that there were no rules against employing family members in deputation posts. However, a leaked letter points out the direct involvement of KT Jaleel’s in appointing KT Adeeb as the General Manager at the Kerala State Minority Development Finance Corporation.
According to reports, Jaleel sent a letter to the Secretary of the Corporation, proposing changes for qualifications required for the post. It is clear evidence that Jaleel had a hand in KT Adeeb’s appointment. Reports point out this letter led the Lokayukta to find Jaleel guilty of nepotism. He made the required changes in the post to include Adeeb in the list as well.
Meanwhile, the opposition has intensified its protests against Jaleel, demanded his resignation. Union Minister V Muraleedharan has asked Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to apologise to the people for supporting Jaleel. Opposition Leader Ramesh Chennithala said that the LDF government must immediately oust Jaleel from the Cabinet.
While announcing the verdict, the Lokayukta asked Pinarayi Vijayan to remove Jaleel from the Cabinet. As the Chief Minister was undergoing treatment for Covid-19, state Law Minister AK Balan met Jaleel and took up the matter. However, Balan made it clear that the state government is rejecting the opposition’s demand for Jaleel’s resignation. He pointed out that there is no provision stating that relatives of politicians cannot be appointed on deputation.
“Manjalamkuzhi Ali and the late KM Mani had appointed people on deputation. There is no provision any law that states that politicians cannot appoint relatives on deputation. The important point is that the relative must have the necessary qualifications,” Balan said, adding that the Kerala High Court and the Governor were convinced that the person appointed by Jaleel was qualified. Meanwhile, reports suggest that Jaleel is consulting legal experts and will approach the Kerala High Court against the Lokayukta’s verdict.
On Friday, a Lokayukta division bench ruled that Jaleel violated his oath by showing nepotism and was not eligible to continue as a minister. The verdict is indicative that Jaleel abused his powers in appointing his relative to the post. Earlier, the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau had told the High Court that the nepotism allegation against Jaleel was “politically motivated” and did not attract provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.