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Kerala minister K T Jaleel resigns after Lokayukta report; HC reserves order on its quashing

Jaleel wrote on Facebook, "I have submitted my resignation to the CM as a mark of my political integrity even as a petition against the Lokayukta order is before the Kerala High Court."

Kerala Minister for Higher Education and Minority Welfare K T Jaleel Tuesday submitted his resignation to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, four days after the state Lokayukta found him guilty of “favouritism and nepotism”.

Later the same day, a division bench of the Kerala HC reserved its order on Jaleel’s petition to quash the Lokayuta order.

Announcing his decision to resign from ministership, Jaleel wrote on Facebook that he had been a “victim of unjustified media witch-hunt for the last two years.” “Those who were vying for my blood can relax for a while. This is to inform you that I have handed over my resignation letter to the Chief Minister,” Jaleel’s post in Malayalam said.

Further, in an remark apparently against the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), his former party, the 53-year-old said the “constant media trials” against him were “not for any misappropriation of Tsunami-Gujarat-Katwa-flood funds or for swallowing crores of rupees set aside for the construction of the Palarivattom bridge.” After making several such references to charges against IUML leaders, Jaleel claimed he had emerged guilt-free even after several rounds of questioning by three Central agencies.

In the past few months, the Enforcement Directorate, Customs Department and the National Investigation Agency had probed various allegations levelled against him in connection with the gold smuggling case
Jaleel found himself in trouble Friday after the Lokayukta passed verdict on a complaint that Jaleel had “illegally appointed” his second cousin as the General Manager of the Kerala State Minorities Finance Development Corporation.

The MLA from Thavanur said his decision to resign was a “mark of political integrity.” He said in his Facebook post, “I have submitted my resignation to the CM as a mark of my political integrity even as a petition against the Lokayukta order is before the Kerala High Court.”

Welcoming Jaleel’s decision, Left Democratic Front (LDF) convenor and CPM acting state secretary A Vijayaraghavan said the minister had “upheld the best traditions” of the Front. “Unlike former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, who continued to be in power despite several adverse opinions from the Lokayukta, and K Babu, who held on to his ministership even after findings against him by the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Courts, Jaleel has taken a decision upholding democratic values,” he said.

However, Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala questioned Jaleel’s delay in submitting his resignation. “Why did K T Jaleel take three days to submit his resignation if he is someone with political integrity? He had to do this today as he had no other way out,” Chennithala said.

BJP state president K Surendran tweeted, “..Earlier, Lokayukta held that Mr. Jaleel has abused his official position to obtain favour for a kin. His partner in crime Mr.Vijayan should tender resignation.”

Believed to have close links with CM Pinarayi Vijayan, Jaleel has had to resign weeks ahead of the state Assembly election results, due on May 2. Jaleel was in the fray from Thavanur as LDF candidate, seeking a fourth consecutive term with the backing of CPM after successfully contesting the polls in 2006, 2011, and 2016.

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