Thiruvananthapuram: Controversies are not new to K T Jaleel. No other minister in the Pinarayi Vijayan-led cabinet had triggered more rows like Jaleel.
Though several allegations were serious, he overcame each one of them, thanks to the support of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. Jaleel, however, faltered and fell when the expected support from Pinarayi did not come after the Lok Ayukta ruling. He had to resign on Tuesday as it became clear that neither the CPM nor the CM was willing to back him any further after the nepotism row invited the adverse report of the anti-corruption ombudsman.
Here is a quick look into the several issues involving him that kicked up a controversy each time and embarrassed the LDF government over the last five years:
• The National Investigation Agency, Enforcement Directorate and Customs had questioned Jaleel based on the statements of the accused persons in the diplomatic channel gold smuggling case. He was accused of protocol violation by accepting religious books and donation from the UAE Consulate to distribute Ramadan kits.
• Soon after assuming charge as the Minister for Higher Education, Jaleel directly intervened in the administration of universities and their conduct of examinations. He organized adalats in Kerala, Calicut, Kannur, Mahatma Gandhi and Cochin University of Science and Technology (CUSAT). The adalats were jointly held by the Department of Higher Education and the universities.
• In an adalat to decide on files, Jaleel ordered a third evaluation of B Tech examination papers by floutingthe rules so that failed students of the Technological University could clear the exams. The Governor intervened and put an end to adalats after the irregularity became public.
• An adalat was held to decide on granting five marks each to 126 failed BTech students of the Mahatma Gandhi University. The syndicate was later made to ratify the decision.
• A higher education department order, asking the universities to forward critical files to the minister’s office for conducting adalats also stoked a controversy.
• It was alleged that Jaleel’s office played a role in awarding marks to the MBBS students of the University of Health Sciences. Members of the university’s grievance committee reportedly opposed and defeated the move.
• While holding the portfolio of Local Self-Government in 2016, Jaleel upset the CPM after he rejected the party’s instruction and appointed Kudumbashree coordinators as per his interest.
• The appointment of Jaleel’s wife N P Fathima Jaleel as the Principal of the Higher Secondary School at Valanchery also sparked a controversy. It was alleged that she was appointed by flouting rules and bypassing the seniority norms set by the Kerala Education Act & Rules.
• Congress MLA Anil Akkara alleged that Jaleel had appointed 10 people, including an SDPI leader accused of murdering M Abhimanyu, SFI leader and a student of Maharaja’s College, in the Kerala Institute of Local Administration (KILA).
• The appointment of a woman in Haj House, Karipur, also triggered a controversy. It was alleged that instead of appointing one on deputation to the clerical post, the minister appointed her based on his personal interest.