Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan

Pinarayi comes to the defence of Jaleel and Jayarajan, rules out resignations


Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Monday ruled out the resignation of Higher Education Minister K T Jaleel and also preempted any calls for the resignation of Industries Minister E P Jayarajan whose son has been accused of close links with gold smuggling accused Swapna Suresh.

The Chief Minister, during his COVID briefing in Thiruvananthapuram, defended Jaleel saying there were neither any charges nor any probe initiated against the minister.

As for E P Jayarajan, he said the charge that the minister's wife had opened her locker violating quarantine was a devious attempt to mislead the investigating agencies.

The thrust of the Chief Minister's argument was that misinformation was forcing investigating agencies to redirect the probe in specific ways. "They (the investigating agencies) have no choice but to ask for information even when false charges are made," the Chief Minister said.

In Jaleel's case, he said the Enforcement Directorate was only seeking clarification on canards spread about Jaleel by vested interests.

"Moreover, there is no history of anyone resigning over an investigation," the Chief Minister said.

Vijayan said Jaleel was called by the Enforcement Directorate on the basis of certain complaints sent to the agency related to the distribution of Quran bundles.
Industries Minister E P Jayarajan

"In the normal course, the Quran issue should not have been a controversy at all. The bundles came through the UAE Consulate. I gather that the investigating agency sought some information on, and tried to get a better picture about, the issue. Beyond this, there is nothing more to it," the Chief Minister said.

He said that Jaleel had done nothing wrong. "On what basis can anyone link Jaleel to the gold smuggling case," Vijayan said. "He is the minister for minority affairs and in charge of Wakf boards. It was the UAE Consulate that got in touch with him for help with distribution of gifts during the Ramadan month," he said.

Vijayan also used the same rhetoric that Jaleel had used to defend his decision to receive the Quran bundles on behalf of the UAE Consulate. "Has it been written anywhere that the distribution of the Quran is illegal," he asked.

Further, Vijayan said that Jaleel had been open about all this. "He himself has provided proof of his communication with the UAE Consulate. And he himself had revealed that he had received the Quran bundles, transported them and had kept them in safe custody," Vijayan said.

The Chief Minister said E P Jayarajan was also a victim of slanderous charges. He asked what was so surprising about a retired senior manager of a bank opening her locker. He said no investigation had been ordered into this either.
Higher Education Minister K T Jaleel

"Is it such a crime that the woman (Jayarjan's wife K P Indira) weighed a necklace worth one sovereign kept in the locker? They are concocting stories out of nothing," the Chief Minister said.

"Then, it was said she had opened the locker close on the heels of central agencies probing her son's links to gold smuggling accused Swapn Suresh," Vijayan said, and added: "Which probe are they speaking about."

Nonetheless, it was clear the Chief Minister sensed the possibility of central agencies questioning Jayarajan's son. "Certain sections are trying to goad the agencies to a specific direction. When complaints reach them, investigating agencies are forced to dig deeper. Or else they will be questioned as to why they did not probe the issue," the Chief Minister said.

He recalled an incident during the 1996 assembly election campaign when it was alleged that someone had paid him Rs 2 crore on the assumption that he would be power minister. "The election had not even taken place then, and still such a complaint was sent to the CBI," Vijayan said. "Naturally, they called me. When I went before them, the first thing they told me was that they are aware that the charge was bogus," Vijayan said.

The Chief Minister, however, did not defend the CPM state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan's son Bineesh Kodiyeri, who had been questioned by the ED in a narcotics case, saying that the issue was explained in detail earlier.