Thiruvananthapuram, Apr 1 (PTI) Nationalist Congress Party legislator Thomas Chandy was today sworn in as new transport minister in the LDF government, replacing A K Saseendran who had to quit after airing of his purported sleaze talks.
A business man-turned-politician and arguably the state’s richest MLA, Thomas was administered the oath of office by Kerala Governor Justice (retd) P Sathasivam.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and his cabinet colleagues, besides the NCP leaders and Thomas’s relatives were among those present at the swearing-in ceremony at Raj Bhavan.
Thomas, who represents Kuttanad constituency in the assembly, later told reporters that the revival of loss-making Kerala State Road Transport Corporation was his top priority.
The three-time MLA, who runs schools in Middle East and lake resorts in the state, exuded confidence that meeting the business and ministerial responsibilities together would not be a hard task for him.
“The transport portfolio is a heavy responsibility.
Revival of KSRTC will be my top priority. It will be made profitable. It is the necessity of the state,” he told reporters at a meet-the-press programme at Press Club here.
He also said he wanted to make the state-run buses air-conditioned.
Thomas, however, declined to comment on the circumstances leading to Saseendran’s resignation, saying the government has already ordered a police and judicial probe into it.
“The judicial enquiry and the police probe have been ordered. The truth should triumph and justice prevail,” the minister added.
Saseendran had resigned on March 26 after an audio clip of his purported talks with a woman in sexual undertones was aired by Malayalam channel Mangalam.
The channel had later admitted they had carried out the sting operation and tendered an apology.
Nine employees, including the CEO of the channel, were booked in connection with airing of the audio clip.
The women journalists, meanwhile, took out a protest march today to the Mangalam office in Kochi in protest against the channel’s sting operation.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.