Thiruvananthapuram:  The Kerala government on Friday gave its nod for a vigilance probe against opposition IUML MLA KM Shaji in connection with an alleged graft complaint against him. As per the complaint by the Kannur block panchayat president K Padmanabhan, the Azhikode legislator had allegedly received Rs 25 lakh from the management of a school for upgrading it to higher secondary level in 2017.

The order comes days after Shaji had locked horns with chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan by alleging that the government had diverted funds from the CMDRF (Chief Minister''s Distress Relief Fund) for providing exorbitant legal fees of advocates appearing for CPI(M) leaders and cadres involved in murder cases.

Chief minister Vijayan had lashed out at Shaji at a press meet and asked him why he was misleading the common people about the technicality of CMDRF and the lawyers' fee. Reacting to the vigilance probe, Shaji said it was "politically motivated".

The MLA told reporters in Kozhikode that he had been targeted by the Left government for raising the allegations. Terming it as a "political retaliation", the MLA said he would face the case politically and legally. Padmanabhan, a CPI(M) local leader, said it was the League's local unit, which had first come up with the graft complaint against MLA in September 2017 and that there was no need to keep it under wraps.