Pinarayi cabinet gets 20th minister, EP Jayarajan sworn in

Jayarajan sworn in as Kerala minister
Governor P Sathasivam administers oath to E P Jayarajan in the presence of chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

Thiruvananthapuram: Senior CPM leader E P Jayarajan, who had resigned from the Kerala cabinet two years ago over nepotism charges, was sworn in as a minister in the Pinarayi Vijayan-led LDF government Tuesday.

The swearing-in was held at the Raj Bhavan. Protesting the decision to bring back Jayarajan, who had quit over nepotism charges, to the cabinet, opposition UDF boycotted the ceremony.The oath was administered by governor justice (retired) P Sathasivam.

The LDF state committee met here on Monday and gave its nod for bringing back Jayarajan. This is the second time that the Kannur strongman is making his way into the ministry..

Also read: Path cleared for E P Jayarajan’s return to state cabinet

Jayarajan, who had held the industries and sports portfolio, had resigned from the cabinet on October 14, 2016, following a major controversy over appointing his close relatives in public sector undertakings (PSU). P K Sudhir Nambiar, son of Jayarajan’s sister-in-law and CPM central committee member P K Sreemathy, was appointed in a PSU under the industries department and Deepthy Nishad, daughter-in-law of Jayarajan’s brother, was appointed as the general manager of another PSU.

The appointments snowballed into a major controversy inviting the intervention of CM Pinarayi. He summoned Jayarajan and Sreemathy and reprimanded them. Though there was a move to settle the issue the CPM central leadership pushed for tough action.

LDF partners CPI, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Janta Dal (Secular) also sought tough action against Jayarajan. Meanwhile, opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala and BJP leaders V Muralidharan and K Surendran filed complaints with the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau. With a preliminary probe ordered based on these complaints, Jayarajan had no option but to quit.

However, the Vigilance department had absolved him of the charges.

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