In a setback to former state Higher Education Minister KT Jaleel, the Kerala High Court on Tuesday dismissed his petition, seeking to stay the Lokayukta findings that he had "abused" his position as a public servant to obtain a favour for a relative.
A division bench of Justices PB Suresh Kumar and K Babu dismissed the plea, observing that there were no procedural lapses from the Lokayukta as alleged by the petitioner. It said the Lokayukta report was furnished after examining all the files and documents in connection with the appointment of his kin as General Manager in a state financial institution.
Jaleel had resigned as Minister from the LDF government on April 13 after the Lokayukta held that he was guilty and violated the oath of office by appointing his relative to the post of General Manager of the Kerala State Minority Development Finance Corporation.
Taking serious note of alleged nepotism and corruption in making appointments, the court observed that in spite of a vigilant media, it is a fact that abuse of public resources and position in public life for private gain are rampant in the state.
"Abuse of public resources or position in public life for private gain would certainly amount to corruption. The scope of corruption would increase when control on the public administrators is weak", the court said.
Jaleel had 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 government had also supported Jaleel, saying he was not given an opportunity to present his views before the Lokayukta. In his plea, Jaleel had alleged that the report was prepared without conducting any preliminary inquiry or regular investigation.
A division bench of the Lokayukta had recently 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.
It was the Muslim Youth League, youth wing of Indian Union Muslim League, in November 2018 that 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 also add "B Tech with PGDBA" to enable his second cousin to be eligible for the post.