Kerala Minister Jaleel resigns following Lokayukta snub

Thiruvananthapuram, April 13 : Even when his petition questioning the Lokayukta's decision asking him to quit was before the Kerala High Court, State Higher Education Minister K.T. Jaleel on Tuesday tendered his resignation to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

Incidentally the Lokayukta on Friday had said that Jaleel has no moral right to continue in office as he has misused his powers and indulged in nepotism and asked Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to take appropriate action against him.

Jaleel informed about his resignation on Facebook saying that those who were after his blood can be happy for a while as he has tendered his resignation to the Chief Minister.

"The Opposition including the Congress, the Indian Union Muslim League and a section of the media was after me for long and now for a while they can be happy, as I have by now sent my resignation," said Jaleel.

Reacting to the resignation, CPI-M politburo member M.A. Baby said Jaleel has approached the High Court as a legal measure.

"I will say what Jaleel has done is the right thing," said Baby, but when asked, state Law Minister A.K. Balan said there was no reason for Jaleel to quit. Baby said, "for the moment, let us stop with what I have said," and walked away.

Incidentally the case pertains to an appointment made by Jaleel in 2018 when he posted his close relative as general manager in a state-owned corporation.

Jaleel appointed his close relative K.T. Adeeb, as general manager in the Kerala State Minorities Development Finance Corporation, under his Ministry and since then the Youth wing of the Indian Union Muslim League- the second biggest ally of the Congress-led UDF was up in arms.

Following a huge protest inside and outside the assembly even though Jaleel vainly defended that the appointment was in order and also got the support of the CPI-M, but finally Adeeb quit the post and returned to his banking job.

It was P.K. Mohammed Shafi a resident of Jaleel's home district Malappuram who approached the Lokayukta and his counsel George Poonthotem said the verdict is very clear and the Lokayukta has said he has no moral right to continue as a minister.

Soon after the Lokayukta verdict came, Jaleel said he will seek legal recourse and on Monday filed his petition questioning the verdict and on Tuesday his petition was to come up, when he tendered his resignation.

What came as a surprise was the total defence of Jaleel by State Law Minister A.K. Balan who said there was no reason for Jaleel to quit and he also mentioned that this case when it came before the Kerala High Court through a petition, months back, it was dismissed.

But following the Lokayukta verdict, the Opposition was demanding Jaleel to quit and the CPI-M appeared to be nervous and with the writing on the wall very clear, Jaleel was practically forced to quit.

Jaleel turned a giant killer in the 2006 assembly elections when he trounced the second topmost politician in the Congress led UDF -- P.K. Kunhalikutty, a former minister and since then Jaleel, though not a CPI-M card holder has become the blue eyed boy of Pinarayi Vijayan, who in 2016 appointed him as a cabinet minister.

Jaleel contested the April 6 assembly polls from the Thavanur assembly constituency in Malappuram district.