The minister has already acknowledged that during Ramzan, he had received food packets worth Rs 5 lakh and also copies of the Quran from the UAE consulate for distribution in Thavanoor, his assembly constituency in Malappuram district.
According to Section 4.2 of the Code of Conduct for ministers, a Union or state minister cannot accept personal gifts valued at more than Rs 5,000. Jaleel said he was ready to face any probe. “What is there to fear if one is confident that he hasn’t committed any mistake?”
Jaleel has also been in the spotlight for alleged links to Swapna Suresh, among the key accused in the Thiruvananthapuram gold smuggling case. He is on record as saying that he called Suresh nine times in June regarding the Ramzan kits sponsored by the UAE consulate.
Based on multiple complaints received by authorities in this regard, the Centre is likely to rope in a central agency – most probably the ED – to probe if the minister breached protocol.
The allegation against Jaleel is that he not only received gifts as a state minister, but also involved Consumerfed – a government agency – in it. The customs protocol office has already told investigating agencies that no exemptions were made for any package received as diplomatic cargo.
Kerala Congress working president V D Satheesan said a probe was essential given the nature of the allegations. State BJP chief K Surendran, who has repeatedly demanded Jaleel’s resignation, has planned a “satyagraha” on Sunday in Thiruvananthapuram to demand the “resignation of the government which has harboured anti-nationals”.