Another Kerala minister is finding himself in the firing line as his son is likely to be summoned by the central agencies investigating the gold smuggling case as well as the scam relating to the housing scheme undertaken with financial help from the UAE charity Red Crescent.
The name of the son of industry minister E P Jayarajan, considered as number two in the Pinarayi Vijayan, had allegedly cropped up during the investigation of Swapna Suresh, the central character in both gold smuggling through the diplomatic channel as well as the charity housing scheme.
Swapna Suresh had deposed that the money recovered from her bank locker was the commission earned for the Rs 20 crore financial assistance provided to the state government prestigious Life Mission housing scheme for the homeless.
Reports suggested that a total of over Rs 4 crore had been paid as commission and it is suspected that a part of this amount could have been pocketed by the son of E P Jayarajan. The investigating agencies are in possession of photographs of Swapna Suresh with the minister’s son.
With more skeletons tumbling out of the ruling Left Democratic Front cupboard, the opposition has further mounted pressure for the resignation of higher education minister K T Jaleel as well as Jayarajan.
The opposition claims that the Pinarayi government has become the fountainhead of corruption and has lost all moral right to continue in office.
Further trouble seems to be in store for K T Jaleel, as the NIA is said to be preparing to summon him for its own investigations following his questioning by the Enforcement Directorate over the use of the diplomatic channel to import of Quran, in violation of all protocols and rules.
The investigating agencies are looking into the possibility of some of the packets carrying the books containing contraband gold or havala money. ED itself is said to be planning to summon him again for further questioning in view of his statements in the preliminary round and in the light of disclosures made by Swapna Suresh during her questioning.
ED is also learnt to be investigating Jaleel’s industrialist friend Anez, in whose car the minister had gone to the ED office, instead of his official car. This prompted taunts by the opposition parties that the minister had stealthily presented himself before the investigators. But Jaleel has sought to make a virtue of this by claiming that he wanted to put the media in its place.
Jaleel has admitted that he had been in touch with Swapna Suresh and that he had been dealing with her as a staff member of the UAE consulate. But, the explanation has not been found satisfactory as he continued the relations even after she had left the consulate employment.
Both Jaleel and Jayaraj are facing angry protests from opposition parties, particularly the their youth wing, for their respective roles in the two scams. Protests are continuing across the state, demanding the resignation of the ministers.