Kerala Industries Minister EP Jayarajan resigns over nepotism charges

Thiruvananthapuram: In a big blow to the five-month old CPI(M)-led LDF government in Kerala, Industries minister E P Jayarajan resigned from the Cabinet on Friday in the wake of the raging appointment row.

His resignation from the Pinarayi Vijayan Cabinet came after a CPI(M) state secretariat meeting, which permitted him to take the decision.

Coming out of the meeting, Jayarajan told reporters, “Now you people are happy. Isn’t it?”

State party secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said Jayarajan had wanted to be allowed to put in his papers to “uphold the image of the party and set an exemplary model in contrast to the previous Congress-led UDF government”.

The Kannur strongman and the number two in the Cabinet, Jayarajan had admitted before the secretariat that he had committed a ‘mistake’ by appointing a close relative in a PSU in the industries department and sought permission to resign.

Jayarajan, considered close to Chief Minister Vijayan, was in the eye of a storm over appointment of his nephew, P K Sudheer Nambiar and son of Kannur MP P K Sreemathi as the Managing Director of Kerala Industrial Enterprises Ltd. His appointment was later quashed by the government.

Another appointment of Deepthi Nishad, Jayarajan’s brother’s daughter-in-law, had also become controversial. She had resigned two days ago.

Jayarajan, who had successfully contested from Mattannur in northern Kannur district, was a member of the legislative assembly from 1991-96. From 2011 onwards he was an MLA.

To a question if CPI-M would take any action against Jayarajan, Kodiyeri said he was a member of party Central Committee and any party action would be decided by the central leadership

“CPI(M) is against any illegal appointments. However party does not think that being a relative of a leader is a disqualification to get a job in government service.”

In Jayarajan’s case, this decision was taken due to the seriousness of the issue, he said.

Kodiyeri also attacked both Congress-led UDF and BJP government at the Centre, alleging that their ministers were involved in controversies, but none of them had resigned.

Indicating that things were not rosy for Jayarajan, party General Secretary Sitaram Yechury had indicated two days ago that action would follow and that the process of correction had already been initiated.

Meanwhile, the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau today informed a Special Court here that a preliminary probe into the appointment row against Jayarjan had been initiated.