Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Monday rallied behind beleaguered Higher Education Minister KT Jaleel, asserting there was no need for him to resign, as being demanded by the opposition after he appeared before the ED over an alleged FCRA violation. The opposition had been making ”imaginary and fabricated” allegations and seeking Jaleel’s resignation, he claimed while seeking to know what was the case against the minister.
The Congress-led UDF and the BJP have been staging state-wide protests demanding that the minister put in his papers after he appeared before the Enforcement Directorate on Friday in connection with the alleged FCRA violation in getting consignments of Holy Quran through diplomatic channel. Jaleel had earlier admitted that a consignment containing Holy Quran had been received from the UAE Consulate here, which a top Customs official had referred to as ”prima facie violation of FCRA” (Foreign Contribution Regulation Act).
”There is no need for Jaleel to resign as there is no case against him. As part of a probe, some information was sought from him by the investigation agency”, Vijayan told reporters here on Monday. "What is the case against Jaleel? The opposition have been making imaginary and fabricated allegations and are seeking Jaleel’s resignation,” he said.
Many complaints were sent to the probe agencies related to the Quran. Normally it was not a controversy. The Quran came through the UAE consulate. "The probe agency sought certain information related to that. That’s what I understand”, the chief minister said, replying to a question on the issue.
Noting that Jaleel handled Waqf board department as well, he said the consulate general had approached him in connection with providing charity (sakkath) during Ramzan. "It’s not a crime to help the consulate. Jaleel had even shown the messages related to that to the media. He publicly showed the details regarding the issue. What’s the crime?,” a visibly agitated Vijayan asked.
Spreading ”fake allegations” seemed to be a hobby for some people in the state, he added. Vijayan’s strong support to his cabinet colleague came a day after Jaleel defended his silence on the ED questioning him and said he was not prepared to reveal anything to those who were ”fabricating lies” and spreading them without a prick to their conscience.
”What has to be kept under wraps will be concealed, what has to be revealed will be disclosed to whom it has to be
divulged. This is the way all ”Dharma Yudhams” (war of righteousness) have been won”, Jaleel had said, in response to criticisms that he had concealed information on the ED interrogating him. Vijayan also brushed aside a media report that Industries Minister EP Jayarajan’s wife had violated COVID-19 quarantine protocol and visited a bank in Kannur after a probe was allegedly launched following circulation of a photograph ofher son and Swapna Suresh, accused in gold smuggling case.
He wanted to know which agency was carrying out the’investigation’. The minister’s wife had retired from the bank and has a locker there.” Yes, she went to the bank and might have used her locker. So, What’s the big deal about that?” he asked.
The minister’s wife Indira Jayarajan, in a video message,denied that she had gone to the bank while in quarantine. She said she had gone there to collect some jewels of her grandchildren for their birthday.
The minister and his wife later tested positive for COVID-19 and are presently undergoing treatment in a hospital in Kannur. Vijayan alleged that the BJP and the Congress have joined together to oppose the Left Democratic Front (LDF) government.