Kerala govt to order judicial probe into sexual misconduct charges

Kerala govt to order judicial probe into sexual misconduct charges
The CPI(M)-led LDF government today decided to order a judicial probe into the sleaze allegations against A K Saseendran, who resigned as transport minister.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan told reporters that the government had decided to conduct a judicial probe into the charges against Saseendran. A decision on the terms of reference and the judge who will head the probe would be finalised at the next cabinet meeting on Wednesday, he said.

Saseendran yesterday resigned over allegation of sexual misconduct after the leakage of his purported phone talks with a woman.

"Saseendran has not admitted his guilt on the matter by resigning. When the allegation came up, he wanted an enquiry into it and took a stand that it was not ethical to continue as minister when the probe is on", Vijayan said.

"Normally, only after a preliminary probe should he have taken a stand like this. But he (Saseendran) stood firm on his decision on moral grounds", the Chief Minister said, adding "We did not intervene and try to dissuade him".

The society also seems to have welcomed Saseendran's decision, he said, adding Saseendran was also prepared to face any probe and so it was decided to have a judicial enquiry.

Earlier, Saseendran had met the chief minister in the morning and held discussions. Saseendran had told Vijayan that there was something "unnatural" in the news report of the conversation, purported to be his with a woman, which was leaked by a television channel yesterday, ending in his resignation.

State DGP Loknath Behara also held discussions with the Chief Minister at the Secretariat this morning on the matter. 72-year-old Saseendran (NCP) is the second minister to quit after Industries Minister E P Jayarajan, who resigned over charges of nepotism triggered by appointment of his two close relatives to top posts in the state PSUs.
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