Kerala: Opposition demands resignation of Minister Jaleel
Thiruvananthapuram, September 11, 2020
Minutes after news surfaced that the Enforcement Directorate (ED) had interrogated Kerala's Higher Education Minister K. T. Jaleel in connection with the gold smuggling case on Friday, cries for his resignation came from the Congress-led Opposition and the BJP.
Jaleel can write himself into record books by becoming the first Kerala Minister to be questioned by the ED and, though this was in the air for a while, everything was kept under wraps.
The whole exercise was a tight-lipped one, contrary to the manner in which the ED behaved, when the former Secretary to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan -- M.Sivasankar -- or when Bineesh Kodiyeri, the son of the powerful secretary of the CPI-M in Kerala- Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, were questioned.
Though the ED officials remained out of touch, it was only from the higher ups of ED from Delhi that the news came out that Jaleel was before the ED officials here.
According to reports, he was with the ED officials for under three hours and left around noon.
Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala said in the history of the state such a questioning of any Minister has not happened.
"He is being protected by Vijayan all through when Jaleel ran into trouble for a few reasons. We wish to know if Vijayan will continue to shield Jaleel, even in what has happened when Jaleel had to appear before the ED. It's shameful," said Chennithala.
Reacting to the development, State BJP president K. Surendran said it's a shame for Kerala that such a thing has happened.
"If Jaleel has any shame he should quit immediately as this is a very grave thing that has happened," said Surendran.
Congress Lok Sabha member and the Congress led-UDF convener Benny Behanan said Kerala's stock is going down day by day under Vijayan.
"What was Jaleel saying all this while and see, he is getting linked to scandals by a central agency. These people have no shame left , if they had, they would have quit and gone," said Behanan.
"What's happening in Kerala is a blot to the culture of our state. Ever since the scandalous gold smuggling case surfaced, we for long have been saying that this is shameful for our state.
This issue surfaced after the Minister has gone on record to say that he interacted with Swapna Suresh , one of the prime accused in the gold smuggling case with regards to accepting sponsorship from the UAE Consulate here worth Rs 5 lakh and also receipt of the Holy Quaran, both of which come under violation of protocols.
He claimed this was for distribution of Ramadan kits in Malappuram district, from where he hails.
According to the code of conduct for State Ministers, they cannot accept gifts which are valued more than Rs 5,000. Besides, the rules are very clear that all such things should be routed only through the Ministry of External Affairs and not directly to either state or Union Ministers.
The Holy Quaran was taken possession by a department under Jaleel and a few allegations on its veracity had surfaced.