THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A division bench of the Kerala lokayukta has observed that higher education and minority welfare minister K T Jaleel has engaged in a clear case of nepotism and abuse of power and is unfit to continue as minister.
The division bench of lokayukta Cyriac Joseph and uplokayukta Harun Ul Rashid ordered that the minister should not continue as a member of the council of ministers.
The court then submitted its order to the chief minister, who is the competent authority for taking appropriate action in accordance with the Section 14 of the Kerala Lokayukta Act.
As per the Section 14, where after an investigation into a complaint, the lokayukta or the uplokayukta is satisfied that the complaint involving an allegation against the public servant is substantiated and that the public servant concerned should not continue to hold the post, they shall make a declaration to that effect and the competent authority – in this case, the chief minister – shall accept the declaration
. This would mean that the declaration of the lokayukta under the section is binding on the chief minister.
The court said that it was satisfied that the allegation of abuse of power, favouritism, nepotism and violation of oath of office is substantiated against K T Jaleel.
The action taken by him to change the qualification for the post of general manager in the Kerala State Minority Development Finance Corporation to add “BTech with PGDBA” also as a qualification for the post was to make his second cousin K T Adeeb eligible for the post.
The minister’s direction to add the particular qualification possessed by his cousin was without any purpose or suggestion from the corporation.
But for the change in the qualification criteria, Adeeb would not have been eligible to apply for the post.
“It amounted to abuse of his position by the second respondent as a public servant to obtain a favour to his near relative,” the court said.
The lokayukta had tried the case on the basis of a petition from an Edappal native, V K Muhammed Shafi.
If the LDF retains the power and K T Jaleel once again is considered for the post of a minister, the lokayukta’s order would become a headache for him.