Thiruvananthapuram, Sep 12 (PTI): As the opposition Congress and BJP in Kerala continued demanding the resignation of Higher Education Minister K T Jaleel on Saturday,a day after he was questioned by the Enforcement Directorate, the state CPI(M) flayed the central agency saying there were allegations that it was being 'politically used'.
The CPI(M) state secretariat, which met today, in a statement said it was'unnatural' that the Enforcement Directorate head had himselfrevealed in Delhi on Friday that it had sought information from Jaleel.
'There is an allegation that ED is an agency that is being politically used', it said.
Jaleel was questioned by the ED in Kochi on Friday for nearly three hours in connection with an alleged FCRA violation in accepting consignments of the Holy Quran brought from the UAE through diplomatic channel and his statement was recorded.
The Marxist party also described as 'politically motivated' the resignation demand by the two opposition parties.
The state witnessed widespread protests on Saturday as the activists of the Congress-led UDF and BJP and their youth wings, hit the road seeking Jaleel's immediate resignation.
Reacting to the state-wide protests, CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury told reporters in Delhi that the agitation by the opposition wasin the view of the upcoming Assembly elections.
'The main opposition UDF led by the Congress and the BJP, which is interested in destabilising all non-BJP ruled governments in the country, are doing this campaign. The state government and the party has made it very clear that action will be taken against wrong-doers,' he said.
Despite heavy downpour, the Youth Congress, Yuva Morcha, BJP, Congress and the Youth League staged protests at various places, including Kozhikode, Thrissur, Malappuram, Idukki and Kottayam, demanding Jaleel's resignation.
At many places today, police used lathis and water cannons to disperse the violent protesters, who also burnt effigies of the minister.
In the state capital, protesters tried to barge into the Secretariat, following which police lathicharged them, causing injuries to a few workers.
The protesters also marched to Jaleel's house at Valancherry Malappuram, but were stopped by police some distance away.
Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala lashed out at Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and said he was protecting the minister.
'The chief minister has been protecting the minister.
Not only Jaleel, the whole ministry is a disgrace to the state. This ministry is a liability to the state,' he alleged.
However, the CPI(M) said the opposition United Democratic Front was trying to shift the attention from Muslim Legue MLA M C Kammruddin's Rs 150 crore jewellery scam case and that the party and the government still has no problem in any agency probing the matter.
'The UDF is trying to shift the attention from its MLA's multi-crore scam. Just because ED sought explanation from the minister, the Congress and the BJP are seeking the resignation of the minister. This just proved that Congress is the B-team of the BJP. The same Congress had earlier alleged that the BJP was politically using the ED,' it said.
The Marxist party also listed out the instances in which the Congress leaders were grilled by the ED in recent past and that P Chidambaram and D K Sivakumar were arrested by the Directorate.
'Rajasthan transport minister Prathap Singh Kacharyavasan was questioned by ED for seven hours in August.
Seems like the Congress leadership in Kerala is unaware of it.
The brother of Rajasthan CM was raided recently,' the party said.
The BJP observed 'black day' today to protest the police action against its activists last night during demonstrations.
Support for Jaleel came from his cabinetcolleagues-- Tourism minister Kadakampally Surendran and Power minister M M Mani, who told reportersthat only explanation was sought from him and there was no need for him to resign.
BJP state president K Surendran said Jaleel should clearly say what information had been sought from him by the ED and the documents he had produced.
The minister had earlier admitted that the consignment containing the Holy Quran had been received from the UAE Consulate in Thiruvananthapuram, which a top Customs official had referred to as 'prima facie violation of FCRA' (Foreign Contribution Regulation Act).
The minister chose to keep away from media glare and remained at his home at Valancherry.
While the state was witnessing protests, Jaleel was seen participating in the 'Choroonu' (rice feeding) ceremony of a toddler from his constituency.
Officials had earlier said Jaleel was under the scanner of the central agencies after he publicly claimed that the consignments brought to Thiruvananthapuram during Ramzan month contained the Holy Quran for distribution in his constituency.
The minister's name had also figured in the call list of Swapna Suresh, a key accused in the case related to gold smuggling through diplomatic baggage addressed to the UAE consulate in Thiruvananthapuram.
However, Jaleel had said the calls were 'strictly professional.'PTI RRT UDSS PTI PTI