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Thursday, July 19, 2018

A K Saseendran can return to cabinet, says Kerala CM after panel clears ex-minister in ‘sleaze talk’ row

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan did not specify when A K Saseendran could return to the cabinet but indicated that it would be soon since he was carrying a heavy load of work.

By: Express Web Desk | Kochi | Updated: November 22, 2017 3:16:51 pm
Saseendran to return to Kerala cabinet says Pinarayi Vijayan Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan (Express Photo/Tashi Tobgyal/File)

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan Wednesday said there were no hurdles for the return of A K Saseendran, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) minister who quit in March after a television channel telecast his “sleaze” telephonic conversation with a woman journalist. A judicial panel, headed by retired Justice P S Antony, has recommended the revoking of the channel’s license and initiation of legal proceedings against its officials, the chief minister said. The minister was “trapped” by the channel with commercial interests in mind, the panel has reportedly found.

While the cabinet has cleared the panel report, the chief minister said he alone cannot make the decision of inviting Saseendran into the government. “It has to be a collective decision,” he told reporters in Thiruvananthapuram.

Saseendran, the NCP MLA representing Elathur constituency in the Assembly, had to make way for his party colleague Thomas Chandy in March after the tape came out in the open. However, now with Chandy having resigned following allegations of land encroachment, the path is clear for Saseendran return as minister.

Also read | Probe report in, judicial panel finding likely against channel

The transport ministry portfolio, that Saseendran and Chandy handled, was allocated to the NCP, an ally of the CPM-led Left Democratic Front. The NCP state unit had said this month that if Saseendran was acquitted in the case, he could once again become the transport minister. After Chandy quit, the portfolio was added to the already-heavy bunch of ministries the chief minister is carrying.

The chief minister did not specify when Saseendran could return to the cabinet but indicated that it would be soon since he was carrying a heavy load of work.

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