Distribution of Korans a cultural, religious transaction: K.T. Jaleel

Minister was questioned by ED in connection with distribution of religious books provided by UAE consulate

September 13, 2020 10:11 pm | Updated September 14, 2020 10:22 am IST - Kochi

Put up a fight:  Police chasing away activists at the Secretariat in Thiruvananthapuram on Saturday.

Put up a fight: Police chasing away activists at the Secretariat in Thiruvananthapuram on Saturday.

The distribution of Korans provided by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) consulate in the State needs to be viewed as a cultural and religious transaction and there is nothing more to it, says Minister K.T. Jaleel, who was questioned by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) here last week in connection with the controversy surrounding the diplomatic baggage imports.

The Opposition parties had mounted pressure for the resignation of Dr. Jaleel after the interrogation. Several youth organisations too took to streets raising the demand.

‘My hands are clean’

“They sought to know about the distribution of Korans made available by the UAE consulate and whether I accepted any gift or money from them. I did not take any favours from them and no financial transactions were involved in the distribution of Ramzan kits or Koran. My hands are clean,” Mr. Jaleel told The Hindu in a telephonic interview.

“The ED also sought my personal asset details, which were duly submitted. All that I own is a 19.5 cent holding in which my house is located. Neither me nor my family members own gold or any other assets. I do not have any valuables stacked in any bank vaults,” he said.

Dr. Jaleel said he went to the ED office in friend’s car as he did not own one. The ED’s summons and interrogation were not publicised by the agency which kept it under wraps. Moreover, presenting oneself before the agency was not something to be done with all the official paraphernalia. That information also need not be shared with the media. It was the legal duty of a public servant to share the information which was sought by a government agency, he said.

‘Goodwill not affected’

While maintaining that he being questioned has not lowered the goodwill of the ruling LDF government, Dr. Jaleel said neither the CPI(M) nor the Chief Minister had sought any explanations from him. “If your hands are clean, the Chief Minister will stand by you like a rock and protect you at any cost. If you are at fault, you can never expect any help from him,” he said.

“While being in the Indian Union Muslim League, I could have followed its leaders like M.C. Kamarudheen, MLA, and minted money by engaging in all sorts of business deals and land transactions. I never engaged in such activities even during those times. No one can ever allege that I have done anything in return for money or other favours,” Dr. Jaleel asserted.

“I have never done anything wrong and it is the basis of my confidence,” he added.

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