E P Jayarajan, Thy Name is Controversy
CPM state committee member E P Jayarajan was always the party’s strongman. And that must be the reason why the CPM had strongly supported his standpoints. The party recognised his contributions by offering him vital posts too. In fact, Jayarajan was made second-in-command in the cabinet when LDf assumed power in Kerala.
Controversy is just another middle name of the muscleman. Here are some of the controversies in which he was involved in.
The speech made by Jayarajan at Morazha in 2007 had ignited a controversy.
“Now, the party cannot function in the manner in which it had functioned 50 years ago. Some believe that the party can be strengthened by smoking beedis, growing beard and eating vadas. If the same approach is taken up now, then the party will lose cadre,” he had said. This speech had stirred up a row then.
Deshabimani Fund Row
Jayarajan was removed as the general manager of Deshabhimani, the party’s mouthpiece, in 2008 after a media expose showed Deshabhimani accepted Rs 2 crore from lottery baron Santiago Martin. While removing Jayarajan, the CPM had officially stated his "failure to exercise due diligence" in accepting money from a tainted source as the reason. Later, the state committee decided to re-appoint him.
Deshabhimani Ad Controversy
Another controversy that tainted his name was linked to an advertisement in party mouthpiece Deshabhimani. The advertisement was given by controversial businessman V M Radhakrishnan alias ‘Chakku’ Radhakrishnan. The Surya Group owned by Radhakrishnan had given the advertisement offering wishes to the CPM state plenum. The allegation against the party then was that it accepted cash from controversial persons under the guise of advertisement for the plenum.
Jayarajan had justified the action saying that a newspaper cannot do police verification of those who are giving advertisements. However, leaders including V S Achuthanandan, had come out against the move. The CPM state secretariat had then declared that receiving the ad was a failure on the part of Deshabhimani.
Deshabhimani Land Deal
Even before the ad controversy could die down, another dispute involving Chakku Radhakrishnan rocked the CPM. It was regarding a land deal between Deshabhimani and Radhakrishnan’s Capital City Hotels and Developers Private Limited.
The daily owned land worth crores of rupees at Manjalikkulam in Thiruvananthapuram, which was sold to the company in July 2012.
The 32 cents of land where the headquarters of the daily was situated was sold to the company for Rs 30 lakh per cent. The market value of the land at that time was Rs 50 lakh per cent.
Jayarajan had justified this deal by stating that there is no need to consult the party for selling a land belonging to Deshabhimani. Pinarayi Vijayan had then come out in support of Jayarajan saying that the deal was sealed with the knowledge of the party.
With this, V S Achuthanandan had filed a complaint against party state leadership before the Politburo.
The Mangrove theme park of CPM-controlled Pappinisseri eco-tourism society was started on the banks of the Valapattanam river in Kannur on April 2010. E P Jayarajan was the chief advisor of the society. Environmental activists came up with the allegation that the park was started after violating the coastal regulation zone rules. The issue generated controversy and detrimentally affected CPM. The centre point of the controversy was E P Jayarajan who issued statements supporting the mangrove park.
Though Jayarajan received full support from the party, it had to face severe criticism. As it was found that the park was functioning by violating the coastal regulation zone rules, the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests intervened in the issue and the park was closed down .
Sports Council Row
Jayarajan had found himself in another controversy with Olympian Anju Bobby George, who headed the Kerala Sports Council, accusing him of insulting her with 'corruption charges’. Anju had alleged that the Minister had called her and other members of the Sports Council corrupt and questioned her travelling expenses. Jayarajan got the support of the chief minister in this and the controversy saw the exit of Anju Bobby George as Sports Council head.
Muhammed Ali Gaffe
Another gaffe from Jayarajan was the response to a news channel when asked about the death of world’s boxing legend Muhammad Ali. Terming Ali as an eminent sports star from Kerala, Jayarajan even said that Ali won a gold medal for the state and elevated the state’s fame internationally.
The latest in the series of controversies involving Jayarajan was the nepotism charges against the senior leader. Jayarajan had appointed Sudhir, son of his sister-in-law and Kannur MP P K Sreemathy, as the Managing Director of the state-run Kerala State Industrial Enterprises (KSIE) Limited under the Ministry of Industries.
Amid the row, Jayarajan’s another relative Deepthi Nishad resigned from the post of General Manager at the Kerala Clays and Ceramics Products Limited.
Jayarajan, as in the past, justified his move stating that his relatives have been appointed in many posts but none has come up with a complaint against it.
However, this time neither his party or the leaders supported him. Senior leaders like V S Achuthanandan and M M Lawrence also criticised the move. CPM General Secretary Sitaram Yechury had said that there would be corrective measures over the issue.
The issue thus snowballed into a big controversy. Jayarajan conveyed his willingness to resign and this decision was accepted by the party state secretariat which met on Friday at the AKG Centre.