Kerala Minister K.T. Jaleel appears before NIA for questioning

The Minister was questioned by the Enforcement Directorate here last week in connection with the consignments of Quran that he had received from the UAE consulate.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) began questioning K.T. Jaleel, Higher Education Minister of Kerala, at its office here on Thursday morning as part of the agency’s probe into the smuggling of gold into the country via air cargo shipments addressed to the Consulate of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in Thiruvananthapuram.

The Minister was questioned by the Enforcement Directorate here last week in connection with the consignments of Quran that he had received from the UAE consulate. It was transported to various places in the State in government vehicles.

Mr. Jaleel reached the NIA office around 6 a.m in a private vehicle. Several police personnel have been posted in front of the office anticipating protests by Opposition parties, which demanded the resignation of Mr. Jaleel.

The NIA’s investigating team had held a meeting with the Enforcement Directorate personnel on Wednesday evening. It is learnt that the agency may ask the Minister about his links with Swapna Suresh, the prime accused in the gold smuggling case.

He had earlier said that Ms. Swapna had spoken to him on May 27 at the instance of the UAE Consul General to donate food kits to the needy. Mr. Jaleel has maintained that he had interacted with Ms. Swapna in official capacity.

At the time, Ms. Swapna was the executive secretary to the UAE consul general, and he was Minister for Minority Welfare and Waqaf. He has also said that the 32 packets of Quran he received from the UAE consulate for distribution during Ramzan remained intact for scrutiny by law enforcement agencies. There was no protocol violation in receiving food kits from the consulate for distribution to needy families during Ramzan, according to the Minister.

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