Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Higher Education Minister KT Jaleel, who has been questioned by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in the Trivandrum Airport gold smuggling case, has declared that he would resign if the CPM and the Left Front ask him to. But the CPM has stuck to its stand that he does not have to resign on moral grounds.
The minister, who has been accused of hiding from the media the fact that he was questioned by central agencies, has been responding by giving a series of interviews to TV channels.
There was a big controversy after the minister, when asked if the distribution of Quran could have been used as a cover to smuggle gold, said on Monday that that could have been possible.
The minister became more careful on Tuesday after the Opposition alleged that his statement has only confirmed the allegations against him. In an interview with Manorama News on Tuesday, he corrected the earlier statement and said that there was no possibility of gold having been smuggled with the Quran packages. He also said he was “100 per cent confident” that the investigations will not find anything against him.
On Tuesday, the UDF protested in front of the Secretariat and the district collectorates demanding the resignation of the Minister. The Yuva Morcha's 24-hour day-and-night protest in front of the Secretariat started on Wednesday morning.
EP Jayarajan and AK Sasindran, who had earlier resigned from the Pinarayi Vijayan cabinet, had later returned to the government in the same departments. The resignations had only helped silence the protests and controversies and they had not resulted in any other political benefit, the CPM believes. That is why it is not taking seriously the demand for Jaleel’s resignation on moral grounds.
Whether he should resign in case he is named as an accused in the case will also be decided by taking into consideration some other cases, the party said.
Jaleel’s declaration that he would resign if the party demands stem from the knowledge that he has the full support of the CPM. Jaleel, who has been presenting himself as a symbol of the politics against the Muslim League, is trying to establish that he is indispensable to the party in Malabar. But the League’s contention is that another attempt by the CPM to bring the Muslim community closer to the Left by using Jaleel has failed.
The statements of the Minister, who has been subjected to questioning, indicates that there is no reason to doubt the NIA, even though the CPM had expressed some apprehensions about the central agencies investigating the case.
Muslim League behind allegations against me: Jaleel
Kochi: The Muslim League is behind the allegations against him, Minister KT Jaleel has said.
The Muslim League is facing defeat in many constituencies in Malappuram. It is spreading lies to overcome this crisis, Jaleel said. He is the symbol of anti-League politics and the Muslim League’s attempts were intended to end him politically, he said in an interview to the ‘Manorama News’ channel.
“Does (Muslim League state president) Panakkad Hyderali Shihab Thangal know of any wrong that I may have done? If he does, then Shihab Thangal should swear on the Quran and tell me I have done something wrong," he said.
Jaleel said getting involved in a smuggling case is the qualification required to become a League leader.
He said he had informed the Chief Minister that he was going to give a statement to the Enforcement Directorate. "But I did not say what kind of action will be taken," he said. There has been no failure in the handling of the controversy over the interrogation. Disclosing what was asked and said will adversely affect the investigation in the case, Jaleel said.
"I have never tried to link the controversy to faith. Also, there was no breach of law or protocol on my part in the distribution of Quran obtained from the UAE Consulate," the Minister said.
He admitted that he had instructed the Quran packages obtained from the Consulate to be delivered to CAPT (Centre for Advanced Printing and Training) in Malappuram.
“I have no role in gold smuggling. I have not accepted any rewards or cash. There is no lack of confidence in the NIA. There is no reason to not trust it. They questioned me on the basis of the complaints they received,” he said.
He said he will not resign over political allegations. However, he will quit if the party (the CPM) or the LDF asks him to, he said.
Jaleel said he has a clear conscience and he doesn’t feel guilty. If you are right and if the truth is with you, the Left party will protect you, he said.
The Opposition should reconsider its move to stage protests against him demanding his resignation based on speculations, he said.
Don’t know what happened at CAPT: Jaleel
During the media interviews, the stance of Jaleel, who has been stating that there was nothing wrong in accepting the packages containing Quran from the UAE Consulate, is that he is not responsible for what happened after the packages were delivered to CAPT for distribution.
The Minister’s stand is that if there has been any fraud at C-APT, then those who were behind it should face the consequences.
But there was no convincing answer to why one of the packages was opened.
He had no knowledge of the NIA raids on Tuesday.