Following a sting operation on the former Kerala minister AK Saseendran, the CEO of the newly launched Malayalam TV news channel Mangalam TV was on Tuesday arrested, along with four others. Mangalam TV had recently run a clip featuring Kerala Transport Minister Saseendran’s lewd telephonic conversation. Saseendran had to resign after the controversial clip was aired. An employee of the channel subsequently claimed that the NCP leader was trapped by Mangalam TV.
Earlier in the day, eight journalists from Mangalam TV who had allegedly honey-trapped the former minister surrendered to an investigation team, news agency ANI reported. The journalists were subsequently questioned.
Ex-Mangalam TV reporter Al-Neema Ashraf had recently told The Indian Express that senior editors from the news organisation had directed a group of reporters including Ashraf to “use any means” to trap Saseendran and others of a five-person list that also named a woman VIP. Ashraf had resigned from the channel on Wednesday in protest of the “unethical” means used by the channel.
The channel ran an eight-minute clip and Saseendran resigned within hours on Sunday. The clip carried an advisory also of the content being inappropriate for children. Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had ordered a judicial probe into the matter afterwards.
According to Ashraf, four women reporters and a male reporter formed a five-member team who were given a target each from a list of four men and a woman. Reportedly, the reporters were told to use any means necessary to get exclusive news from their targets.
Jayachandran, alleged to be one of the seniors involved, said in his defense, “Almost all the reporters who were part of the trial run were youngsters and freshers. When they come and ask for assignments, we give them ideas. But there was no such investigation team. The crime-reporting team headed by Rishi (Manoj) was gathering reports. We did nothing unethical in our meetings.”