Setback for Vijayan, Jaleel as Kerala HC upholds Lokayukta ruling

K.T. Jaleel, who had resigned as Kerala’s Higher Education Minister last week, suffered a jolt on Tuesday when the Kerala High Court upheld the verdict of the Lokayukta which early this month had said that Jaleel has no moral right to continue in office as he has “misused” his powers and indulged in “nepotism”.

It was against this Lokayukta order that Jaleel had approached the high court.

Jaleel had quit moments after the high court took up his petition last week and the court had posted the case for Tuesday for its final orders.

Even though Jaleel had quit last week, he was given the nod by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to go before the high court as he also had a role to play in this case.

The Congress-led opposition had also asked Vijayan to quit as the case pertains to an appointment made by Jaleel in 2018 when he posted his close relative as general manager in a state-owned corporation.

The Congress, as soon as Jaleel had quit, said Vijayan is also a partner in this ‘crime’ as it was in 2013 that the then Congress-led UDF government through a cabinet decision had changed the qualifications for the post to which Jaleel appointed his relative.

When Jaleel decided to appoint his relative, instead of taking the permission of the cabinet to alter the qualification requirements, he prevailed upon Vijayan, who instead of taking the file to the cabinet, cleared it himself.

Reacting to the development, Congress Lok Sabha member from Thrissur T.N. Prathapan said if Vijayan has any scruples left, he should quit immediately.

But CPI-M legislator A.N. Shamsheer said the latest order from the high court does not mean much as Jaleel has already resigned.

Jaleel, in his 2006 debut Assembly elections, trounced the second seniormost politician in the Congress led UDF — P.K. Kunhalikutty, a former Minister, and since then Jaleel, though not a CPI-M card holder, had become the blue eyed boy of Vijayan who in 2016 appointed him a Cabinet Minister.

Jaleel contested the April 6 Assembly polls from the Thavanur assembly constituency in Malappuram district.