Kerala govt to reinduct NCP leader A. K. Saseendran as minister despite protests2 min read . Updated: 29 Jan 2018, 02:01 PM IST
A. K. Saseendran, who quit as transport minister of Kerala in 2016 over allegations of sexual misconduct, is likely to be taken back for the same post this week
Bengaluru: Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader A. K. Saseendran, who quit as transport minister of Kerala in 2016 over allegations of sexual misconduct, is likely to be taken back for the same post this week, according to the party leadership, despite resistance from opposition parties.
Saseendran was acquitted of sexual misconduct charges by a lower court in Kerala last week. The ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) had earlier held that he could come back as a minister if he is acquitted.
“Saseendran will come back as NCP minister in Kerala before the end of the ongoing state assembly. We are meeting our national leaders such as Sharad Pawar on Monday evening, and a formal announcement will follow. After this, we will give a letter to LDF to induct him back into the cabinet," NCP state secretary T. P. Peethambaran told reporters on Monday.
Opposition parties, however, are against the move, raising questions over Saseendran’s conduct in the alleged incident which forced him to exit the cabinet.
An audio tape, aired by a news channel on its launch day, which contained a sexually explicit conversation between a man and a woman, resulted in his exit. Initially the channel claimed this as evidence of Saseendran’s sexual misconduct, but it later turned out that it had honey-trapped him using a female reporter.
Based on a government-ordered investigation, Kerala police has registered a case against the channel authorities for criminal conspiracy and publishing sexually explicit material, among other charges. The reporter in question also filed a complaint against Saseendran alleging sexual misconduct but later changed her stand in court and withdrew the complaint, resulting in Saseendran’s acquittal.
“Saseendran has never denied the authenticity of the tape. He resigned not based on any legality involved but due to moral grounds. If he is reinducted, it will be an assault on the established ethical and moral norms in Kerala politics," said opposition Bharatiya Janata Party’s Kummanam Rajashekaran on Monday.
“Saseendran lacks the minimum dignity the public expects from a politician. It will be a loss of face for LDF if he is taken back," said opposition leader from Congress Ramesh Chennithala, who gave a letter to chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan against the move last week. Congress leader and former chief minister Oommen Chandy also opposed the move while speaking to reporters on Monday.
However, there is little to suggest resistance within the LDF against Saseendran’s come back, said a leader from the ruling CPM, requesting not to be quoted.
Both Chandy and Saseendran were unavailable for an immediate comment for this story.