Kerala Minister for Higher Education and Minority Welfare K T Jaleel on Tuesday submitted his resignation to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, four days after the Lokayukta found him guilty of “favouritism” and “nepotism”, saying he had no moral right to continue as minister.
Announcing his decision, Jaleel wrote on Facebook that he has been a “victim of unjustified media witch-hunt for the last two years.”
Jaleel wrote in Malayalam, “Those who were vying for my blood can relax for a while. This is to happily inform you that I have handed over the resignation letter to the Chief Minister.”
However, the MLA from Thavanur Assembly constituency in Malappuram district said his decision to resign was a “mark of his political integrity”.
Jaleel explained 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.”
Jaleel had found himself in trouble after the Lokayukta passed a verdict on April 9 based on a complaint that accused the minister of illegally appointing his cousin as the general manager of Kerala State Minorities Finance Development Corporation.
Meanwhile, a few hours later, a division bench of the HC reserved its order on Jaleel’s petition to quash the Lokayuta order.
After making several references to charges against leaders of the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), his former party, he said he had emerged guilt-free even after several rounds of questioning by three Central agencies, which probed various allegations against him in connection with a gold smuggling case.
In a remark that seemed to be directed against the IUML, 53-year-old said the “constant and unforgiven media trials against him were neither for any misappropriation of Tsunami-Gujarat-Katwa-flood funds nor for swallowing crores of rupees set aside for the construction of the Palarivattom bridge.”
Left Democratic Front (LDF) convenor and CPM acting state secretary A Vijayaraghavan said the minister 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 said, “Why did K T Jaleel take three days to submit his resignation if he was someone who had political integrity? He had to do this (tender resignation) today as he had no other way out,” Chennithala said.
BJP state president K Surendran tweeted, “His partner in crime Mr Vijayan should tender resignation.”