Lok Ayukta finds Minister Jaleel guilty of abusing his position to favour relative

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Thiruvananthapuram, Apr 9 (PTI) The Kerala Lok Ayukta on Friday found HigherEducation Minister K T Jaleelguilty of abusing his position as a public servant to obtain a favour for his relative and submitted a report to the Chief Minister, saying he should not continue as a minister.

A division bench of the Lok Ayukta, headed by Justice Cyriac Joseph and Upa Lok Ayukta,Justice Harun-Ul-Rashid,said the allegation ofabuse of power, favoritism and nepotism againstthe minister has been proved.

The Muslim Youth League had on November 2, 2018 alleged that Adeeb K T, a cousin of Jaleel, was appointed general manager in the Kerala State Minorities Development Finance Corporation, flouting rules.

Adeeb was the manager of a private bank when the appointment was made.

'...this forum is satisfied that the allegation of abuse of power, favoritism, nepotism and violation of oath of office is substantiated against Dr K T Jaleel, Minister for HigherEducation and Minority Welfare,' the Lok Ayukta said in its order.

It said the action takenby the minister to change the qualifications for the post of General Manager in the Corporation to also add 'B.Tech with PGDBA', was to make Adeeb, his second cousin, eligible for it.

The Lok Ayukta observed that the direction to add the qualification was without any proposal or suggestion from the Corporation and thatAdeeb would not have been eligible to apply for it.

It said the minister's action amounted to abuse of his position as a public servant to obtain a favour for his near relative.

'It amounted to favoritism and nepotism and also lack of integrity in his capacity as a minister.' His conduct also violated the oath of office he had taken to discharge his duties as a minister 'without fear or favour, affection or ill will,' the Lok Ayukta said.

Since such charges have been substantiated against him, he should not continue to hold the post of minister, it said.

The report of the Lok Ayukta was submitted to the Chief Minister for taking appropriate action.

Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala demanded that Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan remove him from the post.

'The CM should ask for the resignation of Jaleel. The Lok Ayukta has clearly mentioned about his involvement in the appointment of his relative.

This is a gross instance of nepotism and corruption. Now there is no other option before the chief minister other than removing him,' Chennithala said in a statement.

Union Minister V Muraleedharan also demanded the resignation of Jaleel, saying the Lok Ayukta has found that the minister made an appointment favouring his relative.

Meanwhile, Jaleel said the Lok Ayukta order needs to be studied and he would take necessary legal action later.

'The Lok Ayukta has pronounced an order in a case which was dismissed by the Kerala High Court and former Governor of Kerala, who was also the Chief Justice of India, P Sathasivam.

Once the detailed order is out, will discuss the matter with the legal experts and take necessary action' Jaleel posted on Facebook.

Jaleel had earlier alleged that the Muslim League was after him since 2006 when he won the Assembly seat from Kuttipuram constituency as an independent, with LDF support.

'It was to appoint a person from a reputed financial institution.

The corporation advertised for the post with MBA or B.Tech with PGDBA/CS/CA/ICWAI and three years' experience as the criteria.

Seven people had applied for the post out of which three appeared for the interview. They did not have the requisite qualification,' Jaleel had earlier said clarifying his stand.