Kerala Industries Minister EP Jayarajan resigned on Friday following allegations that he appointed his own family members as heads of public sector undertakings in the state. CPM state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan confirmed the news. He added that Jayarajan admitted before the CPM state committee that he commited a mistake by appointing close relatives.
Earlier in the day, CPM state secretariat had met to discuss the nepotism charges against Jayarajan. There was an opinion among the members that Jayarajan should not continue in office in light of the controversy. He has spent just over four months in office.
The minister has come under fire for appointments in PSUs as well as key posts in the Kerala High Court. The heads of two PSUs are members of Jayarajan’s own family, while at least two others are closely related to top leaders of the CPM.
On Thursday Kerala’s Vigilance and Anti Corruption Bureau had ordered a pilot probe into these charges against the Industries Minister.
Jayarajan, 66, of Kannur, is one of the most prominent faces of the Kerala CPM, known to be close to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and recognised as second only to him in the cabinet. He is a third-time legislator from Mattanur, where the fourth international airport in Kerala is nearing completion.
EP Jayarajan appointed the following associates:
1. KP Sudheer Nambiar: Son of Jayarajan’s sister-in-law. Appointed managing director of Kerala State Industrial Enterprises.
2. Deepthi Nishad: Daughter-in-law of Jayarajan’s brother. Appointed general manager of Clay and Ceramics Limited.
3. T Naveen: Nephew of Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s wife. Appointed the standing counsel for the State Pollution Control Board.
4. Jeeva Anadan: Son of CPM state secretariat member Anathalavattam Anandan. Appointed managing director of Kinfra (Kerala Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation) Apparel Park.
5. Sooraj Ravindran: Grandson of former CPM chief minister EK Nayanar. Appointed managing director of Kinfra Film and Video Park.
6. Other names include those closely associated with CPM leaders: Nagaraj Narayanan, Unnikrishnan Nair, Suresh Babu, Regha Mohanan, ML Sajeevan and MS Breez.