Kerala Transport Minister resigns over sexual harassment charges

Trivandrum (Kerala) [India], Mar. 26 (ANI): Kerala Transport Minister A.K. Saseendran on Sunday resigned following charges of sexual harassment.

Saseendran resigned after an audio tape of alleged sexual harassment was aired on a regional channel.

"I am resigning on moral grounds. I am making it clear that all allegations charged on me is absolutely baseless. But I am now tendering resignation as it is not right on my path to continue in this position when an investigation is underway. It is up to the Chief Minister and government to investigate the matter and they can investigate with any agency. Also I don't want the government to be on the back foot," Saseendran said.

Meanwhile, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the matter would be thoroughly probed.

A Malayalam regional channel Mangalam has aired an audio tape of the conservation between Saseendran and a woman who approached him to submit a petition.

In the tape, the minister allegedly speaks with sexual intention to the lady. The authenticity of the tape is not confirmed yet. 

“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.

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 public sector undertakings in the state.

Unlike EP Jayarajan, who first denied the nepotism allegations and held on to power for a few days before he finally stepped down, AK Saseendran has so far not attempted to give an explanation on the alleged audio tape.

Story - ANI