Germany’s Social Democratic Party (SDP) has defended its stand on its Indian-origin former MP’s alleged involvement in child pornography, dismissing claims that he was informed about plans to open an investigation against him.
Sebastian Edathy, 44, is suspected of involvement in child pornography.
Sigmar Gabriel, chairman of the centre-left Social Democratic Party (SPD), has indicated that the party’s leadership was considering its long-time spokesman on home affairs and managing board member for a government post during the coalition negotiations with chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) last October.
“We were in the midst of taking crucial decisions on personnel when former interior minister Hans-Peter Friedrich informed him about intelligence information that Mr Edathy’s name emerged during investigations into a globally-operating child pornography ring,” Gabriel said.
“The information given by Friedrich was very helpful for the SPD and therefore his decision on Friday to resign from his post as the minister for food and agriculture in the new cabinet is especially bitter for the SPD,” Gabriel said in a television interview.
Friedrich tendered his resignation following allegations that he had leaked confidential intelligence information on Edathy and about plans to open an investigation against him, enabling him to remove or destroy crucial evidence.
The SPD leadership insisted that it kept this information secret and it was not passed on to Edathy.
Wolfgang Bosbach, home affairs spokesman of the CDU, said Edathy could have become a parliamentary secretary or even the justice minister in the new government. But, it would have been catastrophic if the probe against him on suspicion of possessing or attempting to acquire child pornography were launched only after he assumed a new government office.
Therefore, Friedrich did the right thing by informing Gabriel about the intelligence information concerning the SPD politician’s alleged attempts to acquire child pornography and plans to open an investigation against him, Bosbach said.
Edathy, son of a migrant from Kerala, unexpectedly laid down his parliamentary seat last Friday after more than 15 years on health grounds.