Kerala Minister for Higher Education and Minority Welfare K.T. Jaleel on Tuesday resigned after the Lok Ayukta found him guilty of nepotism.
Governor Arif Mohammed Khan accepted Dr. Jaleel’s resignation which was forwarded to him by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.
In a damning pronouncement last week, the forum said Dr. Jaleel had lobbied the Kerala State Minority Welfare Corporation (KSMWC) to appoint his relative general manager.
Dr. Jaleel had tailored the top job specifications to suit his relative’s academic credentials and ensured none else applied for the job by concealing the opening, the Lok Ayukta said. It had decreed that Dr. Jaleel should not continue in the Cabinet. Dr. Jaleel had displayed a marked “lack of integrity” as Minister. His action amounted to “abuse of power, favouritism, nepotism and violation of oath of office,” the Lok Ayukta had said.
The forum conveyed its finding to Mr. Vijayan, the competent authority, for appropriate action, on Monday. the Congress and the BJP had clamoured for Dr. Jaleel’s exit.
In a Facebook post, Dr. Jaleel said he was the victim of a “right wing” media witch-hunt. Political opponents had prompted the persecution. Dr. Jaleel’s post appeared to primarily target Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) leaders by obliquely referring to charges against them.
CPI(M) acting State secretary A. Vijayaraghavan said Dr. Jaleel had upheld political decorum. In contrast, former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and former Excise Minister K. Babu had clung to power despite drawing adverse verdicts from the judiciary.
Earlier, Dr. Jaleel met CPI(M) leaders. They reportedly backed his right to move the High Court.
However, the party reminded Dr. Jaleel that political propriety demanded he relinquish his post without waiting for relief from the court.
Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala said Dr. Jaleel had no recourse but to resign. There was nothing ethical or sacrificial in his quitting office. The Minister’s exit smacked of desperation and helplessness, he said.
Union Minister of State for External Affairs V. Muraleedharan said Mr. Vijayan, who had endorsed Dr. Jaleel’s move to appoint his relative, should also quit.