Kerala Lokayukta on Friday last week found Higher Education and Minority Affairs Minister KT Jaleel guilty of nepotism and abuse of power in connection with the appointment of his second cousin KT Adeeb as general manager of Kerala State Minorities Development Finance Corporation Limited.
The state Lokayukta noted that Jaleel cannot continue in his post as the Education Minister and suggested the chief minister take appropriate action against him.
“The action by Jaleel to change the qualifications for the post of general manager in the corporation to add ‘BTech with PGDBA’ also as a qualification for the post of general manager was to make his second cousin eligible for the post,” said the order. It also noted that the change in qualification was effected without the recommendation of the corporation and, without it, Adeeb could not have become eligible to apply for the post.
Lokayukta Cyriac Joseph and Upa Lokayukta Harun-Ul-Rasheed found that the minister had abused his position to get his relative appointed to the post, although the man did not have the required qualifications. The Lokayukta also observed that Adeeb’s appointment was made without inviting applications or providing an opportunity to other eligible candidates.
“It amounted to an abuse of position by Jaleel as a public servant to obtain a favour to his near relative,” the order said.
Even though the Minister’s relative resigned from his new position and returned to his previous post as the senior manager in the regional office of the South Indian Bank following the controversy, the Lokayukta, nevertheless, did not find enough ground to drop the proceedings against the said minister.
Following the revelations made by Lokayukta, the Opposition leaders demanded the chief minister to sack the minister. “If an iota of morality is left in the chief minister, he should sack Jaleel from the cabinet or seek his resignation in the wake of the Lokayukta order,” said Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala.
Union Minister V Muraleedharan also demanded Jaleel be sacked. “The government should expel the minister who has violated his oath of office,” he said.
On the other hand, Jaleel said he would take necessary legal measures after getting the full order of the Lokayukta. Taking to Facebook, Jaleel tried to discredit the findings of the Lokayukta, stating that the case in which they had passed a verdict now was dismissed by the High Court and former Kerala Governor P Sathasivam, who is a former Chief Justice of India.
Allegations of nepotism against KT Jaleel first surfaced in 2018
The allegations of nepotism and abuse of power against KT Jaleel first surfaced in 2018 when the Muslim Youth League had accused him of bypassing established procedures to favour his relatives. The allegations had sparked a political furore in the state, prompting Opposition parties to carry out rallies demanding his ouster.
However, the minister and the LDF rubbished the allegations saying there was no merit in the case and that it was politically motivated. However, following the controversy, Adeeb resigned from his post, stating that the accusations have “hurt his dignity”. Later in February 2019, a probe was ordered into the case by the Lokayukta based on a complaint filed by V K Muhammed Shafi, a native of Edappal.