Kerala Higher Education Minister K T Jaleel on Tuesday submitted his resignation from the Pinarayi Vijayan cabinet, days after the state Lokayukta’s finding that he had abused his position as a public servant to favour a relative.
It had also held that he should not continue in the post.
Jaleel sent his resignation to the Chief Minister and it has been forwarded to the Governor, sources in the Chief Minister’s office told PTI.
The resignation has been accepted by Governor Arif Mohammad Khan, Raj Bhavan sources said.
In a Facebook Post, Jaleel himself confirmed that he had put in his papers.
“I am happy to say that those who had been baying for my blood can be relieved for now.I have submitted my resignation to the Chief Minister. Since the past two years, I have been facing a media onslaught,” Jaleel, second minister in the LDF ministry to resign on nepotism charges, said in the post.
The development is a setback to the Vijayan government, which has hardly a couple of days left for its term to get over.
Industries E P Jayarajan had resigned in October 2016, five months after the LDF ministryassumed office following a row over the appointment of his nephew and son of former Kannur MP P K Sreemathy as Managing Director of Kerala Industries Enterprises Ltd.
Two years later later, Jayarajan was taken back in the ministry.
Jaleel’s resignationcomes a day after he moved the High Court seeking a stay on the Lokayukta order.
The court had posted the case for today.
While CPI(M) secretary in-charge, A Vijayaraghavan welcomed the decision, saying it was aptand taken on moral grounds,the Congress said he should have stepped down earlier.
The CPI(M) leadership isunderstood to have asked the minister to resign.
Lashing out at Jaleel, leader of opposition in the state assembly Ramesh Chennithala said the minister had no other go, but to resign.
The high moral ground that the party was claiming which prompted him to resign, was not right, the senior congress leaders said.
“Why did he not resign immediately after the Lokayuktaverdict three days ago? Why did he move the high court?” Chennithala asked reporters.
A division bench of the Lokayukta, comprising Justice Cyriac Joseph and Justice Harun-Ul-Rashid, had on Friday submitted the report against Jaleel to the Chief Minister and had held that the allegation of abuse of power, favouritism and nepotism against the minister was proved.
The Muslim Youth League had on November 2, 2018 alleged that Adeeb K T, a cousin of Jaleel, was appointed general manager in Kerala State Minorities Development Finance Corporation, flouting rules.
Adeeb was serving as manager of a private bank when the appointment was made.
The Lokayuktahad found that the minister had changed the qualifications for the post of General Manager in the Corporation to add “B.Tech with PGDBA” also as a qualification for the post to enable his second cousin, eligible for the post.
It had observed that the direction to add the particular qualification was without any proposal or suggestion from the Corporation and that Adeeb would not have been eligible to apply for the post.
“It amounted to favouritism and nepotism and also lack of integrity in his capacity as a minister. The conduct of the 2nd respondent (minister) also violated the oath of office he had taken as a minister to discharge his duties as a minister without fear or favour, affection or ill-will,” the Lokayukta had said in its verdict.
Jaleel has been in the media glare since last year after he was questioned by the Enforcement Directorate and the National Investigation Agency over the import ofQuran by the UAE consulate here and his telephone conversation with Swapna Suresh, a key accusedin the gold smuggling case relating to seizure of 30 kg of gold worth around Rs 15 crore through diplomaticbaggage in July last year.
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