The Kerala High Court on Tuesday reserved orders on a petition filed by KT Jaleel, who quit as Higher Education Minister, seeking a stay on the Lokayukta finding that he is guilty of abusing his position as a public servant. The Lokayukta recently ordered that Jaleel was guilty in the nepotism row where he gave a job to a close relative, allegedly flouting norms.
When the petition came up before the vacation judge, Jaleel's counsel argued that the Lokayukta did not have powers to consider the matter since it concerns prescription of qualification and appointment to a Minority Development Finance Corporation, which is specifically excluded from the purview of the probe under the Kerala Lokayukta Act.
The state governmentâ€™s counsel also supported Jaleel, saying that he was not given an opportunity to present his views before the Lokayukta. After hearing the arguments, the court reserved the case. In his plea, Jaleel has alleged that the report was prepared without conducting any preliminary inquiry or regular investigation.
A division bench of the Lokayukta, comprising Justice Cyriac Joseph and Justice Harun-Ul-Rashid, had on Friday submitted the report against Jaleel to the Chief Minister and had held that the allegation of abuse of power, favouritism and nepotism against the minister was proved.
The Muslim Youth League, youth wing of Indian Union Muslim League, had on November 2, 2018 alleged that Adeeb KT, a cousin of Jaleel, was appointed General Manager in Kerala State Minorities Development Finance Corporation, flouting rules. Adeeb was serving as manager of a private bank when the appointment was made.
The Lokayukta had found that the Minister had changed the qualifications for the post of General Manager in the Corporation to add "B.Tech with PGDBA" as a qualification for the post to enable his second cousin to be eligible for the post.
KT Jaleel announced his resignation on Tuesday through a Facebook post stating that he was subjected to unjustifiable media witch hunt for the past two years. â€śThis is a temporary victory for those who wanted to suck my blood. I am announcing with pleasure that I have given my resignation letter to the Chief Minister. I am a public servant who has been subjected to an unjustifiable media witch hunt for the last two years. This is not because I had stolen, neither was I corrupt and nor did I make disproportionate assets. This was not because I caused even a pennyâ€™s loss to the public exchequer, nor because I have led a luxurious lifeâ€¦ but there was a constant witch hunt,â€ť he had written on Facebook.
(With PTI inputs)