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Cleared of sleaze charges, NCP leader Saseendran to be reinducted into Kerala cabinet today

AK Saseendran is expected to get the transport portfolio held by chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

kerala Updated: Feb 01, 2018 17:08 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Thiruvananthapuram
AK Saseendran,Sleaze charges,Sexual harassment
Kerala governor P Sathasivam will administer the oath of office to AK Saseendran (in pic) at the Raj Bhawan on Thursday evening.(HT File)

AK Saseendran, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader who was forced to quit his ministerial post last year after being accused of sexual harassment, will be reinducted into the Pinarayi Vijayan cabinet on Thursday.

A court cleared him of all charges after the petitioner withdrew her complaint on January 25.

Saseendran is expected to get the transport portfolio held by chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan. Kerala governor P Sathasivam will administer the oath of office at the Raj Bhawan on Thursday evening.

The 71-year-old NCP leader resigned from his position last year, after a local news channel aired an audio clip purportedly containing a sexually explicit conversation between him and a woman journalist. But the petitioner told the Thiruvananthapuram chief judicial magistrate last month that she wasn’t sure if the voice heard in the clip belonged to the former minister, after which the court quashed the FIR.

Mangalam TV had initially aired the aired the audio clip under the claim that it depicted Saseendran seeking sexual favours from a housewife. However, channel CEO A Ajith Kumar later clarified that a woman scribe had voluntarily come forward to conduct the sting operation against Saseendran. He claimed that she was part of an eight-member investigation team constituted by the channel.

The minister resigned the very evening the audio clip was aired.

Kumar eventually apologised after several writers, intellectuals and journalists criticised the manner in which the sting operation was executed. He was then arrested along with five others, and the state government announced a judicial probe into the case.

BJP state president Kummanam Rajasekharan has expressed reservations over reinducting Saseendran into the cabinet, terming the move as “legally untenable”.

First Published: Feb 01, 2018 11:41 IST