Kerala Minister Faces Probe Into Sexual Misconduct Charges

AK Saseendran resigned as transport minister over a leaked recording of alleged sexually inappropriate conduct.

The CPI(M)-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) government on Monday decided to order a judicial probe into the sexual misconduct allegations against AK Saseendran, who resigned as transport minister.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan told reporters that the government had decided to conduct a judicial probe against Saseendran.

A decision on the terms of reference and the judge who will head the probe would be finalised at the next cabinet meeting on Wednesday, he said.

Saseendran on Sunday resigned over allegations of sexual misconduct after the leak of his purported phone conversation with a woman.

"Saseendran has not admitted his guilt on the matter by resigning. When the allegation came up, he wanted an enquiry into it and took a stand that it was not ethical to continue as minister when the probe is on", Vijayan said.

‘Unnatural’ News Report, Claimed Saseendran

Earlier, Saseendran had met the chief minister in the morning and held discussions. Saseendran had told Vijayan that there was something "unnatural" in the news report of the conversation, purported to be with a woman, which was leaked by a Malayalam television channel, resulting in his resignation.

The channel alleged that the voice was that of Saseendran, and that he had called the woman and asked her for sexual favours, after she came to him asking for help.

The audio clip – which isn’t very clear – has a man’s voice speaking in a lewd manner. The channel did not air the voice of the person on the other end.

‘I Did Nothing Wrong’

Saseendran, while putting in his papers on Sunday, claimed that he did not do anything wrong, and that he merely was resigning to safeguard the integrity of the government and his party.

“Before evaluating the right and wrong, it is important to safeguard the integrity of the party. The party has a moral responsibility. Neither the government nor the party will have to hang its head in shame because of me,” the LDF leader and Elathoor MLA said.

This is not the time to stick to a position and prove whether I am right or wrong. I just want to prove I’m right after stepping out of the position.

Saseendran is the second minister in the LDF government to step down. Kerala Industries Minister EP Jayarajan resigned in October 2016, following allegations that he appointed his own family members as heads of PSUs in the state.

(With The News Minute and PTI inputs)