Lok Ayukta finds Jaleel guilty of nepotism

It says the Minister has lost moral right to continue in the Cabinet

The Kerala Lok Ayukta has found Minister for Higher Education and Minority Welfare K.T. Jaleel guilty of “abuse of power, favouritism, nepotism and violation of oath of office”. It ruled Dr. Jaleel had lost the moral right to continue in the council of Ministers.

The Lok Ayukta has conveyed its finding to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, the competent authority, for appropriate action. The judicial watchdog’s damning finding has prompted the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to demand Dr. Jaleel’s resignation. The Minister has said the High Court had dismissed the charge earlier.

Lok Ayukta Cyriac Joseph and Upa Lok Ayukta Harun-Ul-Rashid found the Minister had attempted to appoint his second cousin to the post of General Manager, Kerala State Commission for Minority Welfare (KSCMW).

The Minister had specified that a person with “BTech and PGDBA” need apply for the post. The panel found Dr. Jaleel had stacked the decks in favour of his second cousin.

The government did not publish the vacancy or invite applications from other candidates for the post. The Lok Ayukta found the KSCMW had not proposed creating a general manager’s position in the first place.

The forum said the Minister’s action amounted to an abuse of his official position to favour his relative. “It is immaterial that the relative did not turn up for the interview,” the forum said.

The Lok Ayukta said Dr. Jaleel had displayed a “lack of integrity” in his capacity as a Minister. He had violated the oath of office. Dr. Jaleel had forsaken his vow to discharge his duties “without fear or favour, affection or ill will”. The Lok Ayukta said Dr. Jaleel should not continue as a member of the Council of Ministers.

The panel has sent a report to the Chief Minister seeking Dr. Jaleel’s removal from the post under Section 12 (3) of the Kerala Lok Ayukta Act, 1999.

Resignation sought

Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala asked Mr. Vijayan to show Dr. Jaleel the door. KPCC president Mullappally Ramachandran said Dr. Jaleel was symbolic of the inherent corruption in the Left Democratic Front. BJP State president K. Surendran urged Mr. Vijayan to expel the Minister.

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