Kerala transport minister AK Saseendran on Sunday resigned from his post after allegations of misconduct with a woman were made against him. A TV channel recently aired an audio clip hinting a lewd conversation between the minister and a woman on phone. The minister, however, denied the allegations and demanded a through probe into the matter.
A five-time legislator from the Nationalist Congress Party, the minister announced the resignation at Kozhikode. The audio was released by Mangalam TV. “I have decided to resign. This should not be seen as my acceptance of guilt. All charges on me are absolutely baseless. It is up to the CM and govt to investigate the matter and they can investigate it with any agency. I appeal to the CM to probe the allegations against me. But it’s my responsibility to step down to protect the value of my party and front,” said Saseendran while talking to media.
Reacting to the development, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan told the media that he had taken the report seriously and promised action. “Will thoroughly probe into the matter,” said Vijayan. Last year, CPI-M strongman and Industries Minister EP Jayarajan quit on charges of nepotism.
The resignation comes at a time when the ruling party and the opposition Congress-led UDF are busy campaigning for the April 12 Malappuram bypoll, necessitated following the death of IUML leader E Ahamed.
Maintaining that he harboured no complaints against anyone, Saseendran said, “I do not thing I have wronged anyone. There is need to find out the rights and wrongs. Let the chief minister order a probe by any agency.. a proper probe will prove my innocence.”
This is an unceremonious exit for the five-time MLA and a senior leader of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), who became a minister for the first time and held the portfolios of Road Transport, Motor Vehicles and Water Transport.
Elected from Elathur in the 2016 assembly polls, he was also an MLA in 1980, 1982, 2006 and 2011.
Opposition leader in the assembly Ramesh Chennithala said it is shameful that a minister had to resign on such grounds from the government, which rode to the power promising protection to women and children. “The truth needs to come out. The report has shocked everyone,” Chennithala told reporters in Thiruvananthapuram.
BJP state President Kummanam Rajasekharan hit out at the minister, saying all Keralites need to hang their heads in shame over the allegations.
(With inputs from PTI)