The ongoing probe in connection with the Kerala gold scandal where Higher Education Minister KT Jaleel is now being questioned by the NIA at Ernakulam. The questioning started early in the morning at 6 AM via the diplomatic channel. NIA is suspecting smuggling in the guise of distributing holy books. The holy Quran that was brought from UAE, the minister is being questioned about the books that were brought from the UAE embassy. He will be probed about the diplomatic baggage and what was inside the box which was procured from the UAE consulate office in the month of March. He will also be inquired about what was distributed in his constituency in Malappuram. Around 250 boxes were procured. The agency is investigating the boxes and has enough evidence that the boxes and containers did not reach Malappuram and have gone outside the state.
On Wednesday, an NIA team had visited the ED’s office and collected information about KT Jaleel as a prelude to the questioning of the minister on Thursday.The police have set up barricades in anticipation of protest demonstrations by opposition parties against the minister at the location.The opposition parties have been staging widespread protests demanding Jaleel’s resignation due to the serious nature of charges against him.Last week, ED had questioned Jaleel in connection with the probe into the diplomatic parcels that arrived in the name of the UAE Consulate in Thiruvananthapuram.
Jaleel’s intervention to distribute the religious texts that arrived through the Consulate and his communications with Swapna Suresh, an accused in the gold smuggling case, and the Consul General were in violation of a circular issued by the General Administration Department. The circular issued by the protocol section of the General Administration Department warned against such direct transactions.
The minister will have to explain what was the purpose of his phone conversations with Swapna.There are indications that the minister has not followed official procedures in using government facilities to distribute the religious texts that came via the diplomatic channel.The ED is now probing whether the gold that reached Thiruvananthapuram was smuggled to other districts along with the packages containing the religious texts. The minister’s questioning was as part of this investigation.