Days after Kerala Higher Education Minister KT Jaleel spoke to The Federal about his ED questioning over alleged FCRA violation, he defended his silence over the issue saying he was not ready to reveal anything to those “fabricating lies” and spreading them without a prick to their conscience.
Jaleel made the remarks in a Facebook post on Sunday (September 13) amid demands by the opposition that he should clearly state what information was sought from him by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and continuing protests by them, pressing his resignation.
The minister had appeared before the ED on Friday regarding an alleged violation of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) in accepting consignments of copies of the Holy Quran brought from UAE via diplomatic channel. His statement was recorded by the ED.
“Lies and false stories are being spread each day without a prick to their conscience… What has to be kept under wraps will be concealed, what has to be revealed will be disclosed to whom it has to be divulged. This is the way all “Dharma Yudhams” (war of righteousness) have been won,” he said.
Jaleel, who is presently at his home at Valancherry in Malappuram, further released some photos on social media showing him meeting people there.
He had earlier told The Federal that he has shared whatever information the ED asked for. “They did not ask me anything about gold smuggling. The queries were on the consignment of the Quran sent by the UAE government through the consulate. I told them everything I know,” the minister had said.
The gold smuggling case came to light when Customs officials detected smuggled gold in diplomatic parcels addressed to the UAE consulate in Thiruvananthapuram. Some ex-employees of the consulate are the main accused in the smuggling case.
“There is nothing unusual about it. The UAE government gives copies of the Holy Quran as a gift to individuals and organisations… I’m also the minister of Wakf and, hence, I was asked whether these copies can be distributed to religious charity institutions in the state,” he had said.
Meanwhile, for the third consecutive day, protests were held in various parts of the state by opposition parties demanding Jaleel’s resignation.
Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the student wing of the BJP, took out marches to Jaleel’s house which turned violent and the police resorted to lathi charging the protesters. In Kozhikode, water cannons were used to disperse the protesters.
Valanchery: Police lathi-charge and detain members of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), protesting outside the residence of Kerala minister KT Jaleel, over his alleged involvement in the gold smuggling case#Kerala pic.twitter.com/0yIYa3tAas
— ANI (@ANI) September 13, 2020
Coming out in support of Jaleel, State Law Minister AK Balan alleged that the former was being hounded by the opposition. “The central agency had only sought some information from Jaleel. Notice was sent to him as a private person, not as a minister… The religious books were brought lawfully,” he told reporters in Palakkad.
Meanwhile, BJP state president K Surendran alleged that the son of another state minister had received ‘commission’ from Swapna Suresh, an accused in the gold smuggling case, over a housing project in Thrissur district and demanded a probe into the same.
Leader of the Opposition in the state assembly, Ramesh Chennithala of the Congress said the allegation was ‘serious’ and also demanded a probe.
(With inputs from agencies)