Jaleel has done no wrong : Pinarayi Vijayan
Even after the Enforcement Directorate having questioned State Higher Education Minister K.T. Jaleel, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) is all set to question him in the next two days. Still, a confident Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan gave a clean chit to his cabinet colleague on Tuesday.
Speaking to the media here, Vijayan said one failed to understand what the allegation against Jaleel was.
"Jaleel has done no wrong and the society also knows about this. What's happening is a concerted attempt to tarnish him as there are vested interests who are after him. He quit a political party (the Indian Union Muslim League) and joined us. This is what some people are unable to digest," said Vijayan.
After the ED questioned him, which was kept a closely-guarded secret and he was caught lying, he went on record to say he has no clue of if he will be questioned.
But since the news surfaced, the two principal opposition fronts in the state have been demanding his resignation. Also, numerous protests have broken out, with the police clashing with opposition activists.
"The questioning of ED is not a big deal. Is he the first minister to be questioned? As far as the Left is concerned he is the first. The questioning was to ascertain facts after complaints surfaced against him. The case is that he distributed the Holy Quran. You should note that he never asked for it, instead his help was sought to distribute it and he did it. What wrong has he done?" added Vijayan.
Incidentally, Vijayan's strong defence comes at a time, when the NIA as part of widening its probe into the Kerala gold smuggling case, they are all set to question Jaleel in the next two days, officials said on Tuesday.
"We will record the statement of Jaleel in the Kerala gold smuggling case," a senior NIA official told IANS.
The official clarified that he is not named in the case, but the agency wants to question him to know if there was any gold smuggling activity under the guise of distribution of religious texts.
The gold smuggling case was unearthed when P.S. Sarith, a former employee of the UAE Consulate in Thiruvananthapuram, was arrested by the Customs on July 5 when he was facilitating smuggling of 30 kg gold in diplomatic baggage to the state capital from Dubai.
Things turned murkier when the name of Swapna Suresh, a former employee of the consulate and later employed with the IT Department, surfaced. Later, her links with now-suspended IAS officer M. Sivasankar, then posted as Principal secretary to Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan and also the IT Secretary, came to light.
So far, the NIA has zeroed in on 25 accused, of which 20 have been arrested.- IANS