It was in November 2018 that Firos first raised the allegation that KT Jaleel had flouted the rules to appoint his close relative to a government post.

PK FirosFB / PK Firos
news Politics Tuesday, April 13, 2021 - 18:47

When PK Firos, General Secretary of the Muslim Youth League – the youth wing of the Indian Union Muslim League – held a press meet in Kozhikode on Tuesday afternoon, minutes after Kerala Minister KT Jaleel announced his resignation, he didn’t express any hints of jubilance but rather continued to slam the Minister. It was Firos who had in 2018, for the first time, raised allegations of nepotism against Jaleel, Minister for Higher Education, Welfare of Minorities, Waqf and Hajj in the Pinarayi Vijayan-led CPI(M) government, which has now led to his resignation.

Three days ago, the Kerala Lokayukta found Jaleel guilty of nepotism, of misusing his power and flouting rules to appoint a close relative of his to the Kerala State Minorities Development Finance Corporation. The Lokayukta had also declared that Jaleel should not continue as a Minister.

Firos had alleged that Jaleel had flouted norms to appoint KT Adeeb, his cousin, an employee of South Indian Bank, as General Manager of the Kerala State Minorities Development Finance Corporation, which comes under the Ministry of Minority Welfare. It was alleged that Adeeb was appointed despite not having the required qualifications.

However, following the allegations, Adeeb resigned from the post in 2018, the same year the controversial appointment was made. Though Firos initially filed a complaint with the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau, there was no progress. However, in February 2019, Lokayukta ordered a probe into the complaint, which has now led to the resignation of the Minister.

Though Jaleel had earlier expressed confidence, even moving the High Court against the Lokayukta order and with state Minister for Law AK Balan stating that Jaleel had many legal options, he announced his resignation on Tuesday.

Notably, Firos was one of the first to respond to the news about Jaleel’s resignation. Talking to the media, Firos alleged that the Minister had resigned only because he realised that getting a stay order from the Kerala High Court against the Lokayukta order was a bleak possibility.

“He is continuing to lie. In his Facebook post, he said it is due to political ethics that he was resigning, but that is not true. It is due to the Lokayukta order and on realising that he will not get anything favourable from the Kerala HC,” Firos stated.

He also slammed Jaleel’s initial reaction when the Lokayukta verdict came, when he said that it was a case initially rejected by the High Court. “When a petition on a complaint like this is moved in the High Court, it requires the permission of the state government. But I didn’t have that and so the court asked me to get the same. This is what happened. But the Minister misled the people of Kerala by saying that the HC rejected the case. He is proving to be a liar, even when he resigned he lied,” said Firos.

Firos also slammed Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan saying that he was also accountable in the issue. “The CM should make it clear why Jaleel was given relaxation while EP Jayarajan was not,” he said. He alleged that the CM had signed the document that cited change of qualification that led to Adeeb’s appointment, which is one of the accusations against Jaleel.

Watch video: PK Firos's press meet

In a similar nepotism row, Industries Minister EP Jayarajan had resigned in 2016, months after the LDF government came to power. However, he was later reinstated.

Notably, in March this year, Firos was booked by Kerala Police for misappropriating Rs 15 lakh from a fund of over Rs 1 crore collected in the name of the family of the Kathua rape and murder victim. The case pertains to the kidnap, gang rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl at a temple in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kathua in January 2018. Lawyer Deepika Singh Rajawat, who was the counsel for the Kathua victim’s family, had told the media that she received no funds and that the case was fought for the family for free.

Jaleel had also sought investigation into the assets and foreign trips of Youth League leaders.

Incidentally, it was also Firos who had initially alleged that CPI(M) Kerala party chief Kodiyeri Balakrishnan’s son Bineesh had close connections with Anoop Mohammed, one of the accused in the Bengaluru drug case. It was following this that Bineesh was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate.

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