In what could be anxious moments for Kerala Forest Minister A.K. Saseendran, the coming days could turn crucial as a controversy surfaced on Tuesday after a phone conversation between him and a party member surfaced. In the conversation, he asks his party member to settle amicably a case, which involves his daughter who was harassed by another party leader.
Saseendran belongs to the NCP and following the revelation, the Congress and the BJP have demanded his resignation and face the probe.
Incidentally, Saseendran in March 2017, in the first Pinarayi Vijayan government had to quit following a sleaze talk with a lady. However, he later returned after a court cleared him after the lady backed out, then.
The aggrieved lady told the media that her father is an NCP leader in Kollam district and she had contested the local body polls as a BJP candidate, last year.
“There were issues then saying that my father purposefully made me a candidate for money. This is totally false. A few months back, an NCP leader in our place Padmakaran, who owns a hotel and a bar after seeing me caught my hand and said if it’s for money, then he will also give money. Later in a WhatsApp group an election poster and his picture was circulated and we decided to file a complaint,” said the aggrieved lady.
“At the police station also, we got a cold treatment and they have done nothing. I also informed the top police official about what happened and he replied OK and nothing has happened after that. Then came the call from Minister to my father,” said the lady.
The father of the lady who is the local NCP leader said he got a call from one person called Saseendran, last month.
“I asked if the caller was Minister A.K. Saseendran, he said yes. The Minister then said that there is an issue in my area. I said this is no party issue, so I do not know what the Minister was referring. Then I said my daughter was harassed by our party member Padmakaran. Then the minister said, he is also referring to the same and it should be amicably settled. I asked him again, if he was asking me to settle the harassment case against my daughter,” said the lady’s father.
Reacting to this, Saseendran told the media that it was to find out what the issue was.
“I did not know what it was and when I heard what he said, I ended the conversation,” said Saseendran.
To a volley of questions, Saseendran tried to beat around the bush and said being public figure it’s natural that several issues come up and when we hear what it is, we will say to look into the matter and see what can be done and other than that he has done no wrong, reiterated Saseendran.
The voice clip of the conversation between Saseendran and the victim’s father is very clear that the minister knew about the incident and it was not as what he said, that he called to find out what the issue was.
He ends the conversation by saying to the victim’s father to see things are amicably settled and when the lady’s father asks how it can be done, the minister further states, that everything cannot be said over the phone and cuts the call.
The Congress led UDF convener M.M. Hassan said this is a clear case of trying to intervene in a harassment case and Vijayan should take the decision.
State BJP president K. Surendran said, this is a gross violation of the oath taken by Saseendran as he has intervened in a harassment case.
“Just look, the Left government always talks of women’s issues and security and see what Saseendran is trying to do. Saseendran has to quit, if not, Vijayan should ask him to go,” said Surendran.
With a new assembly session starting on Thursday, this issue could well put the Vijayan government in a spot and it remains to be seen, if Saseendran can wriggle out of this controversy.
(The story has been published via a syndicated feed with a modified headline.)
Did you find this article useful? We’re a non-profit. Make a donation and help pay for our journalism.