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Phone sex scandal: Former Kerala minister absolved after petitioner withdraws case

AK Saseendran was forced to quit the Pinarayi Vijayan cabinet after a news channel aired the recording of an alleged conversation between him and a woman journalist last year.

kerala Updated: Jan 27, 2018 20:07 IST
Ramesh Babu
Ramesh Babu
Hindustan Times, Thiruvananthapuram
Mangalam News Channel,Saseendran,Phone sex scandal
Initially, the Mangalam News channel aired the audio clip claiming that Saseendran had sought sexual favours from a housewife who approached him on some issue.(File photo)

The chief judicial magistrate’s court in Thiruvananthapuram on Saturday absolved former minister AK Saseendran in a phone sex scandal case after the petitioner withdrew her complaint.

The minister was forced to quit after a news channel aired the recording of an alleged conversation between him and a woman journalist last year. The court allowed the petitioner to withdraw the plaint after the petitioner said she was unsure if the voice she heard was that of Saseendran.

The NCP legislator is now likely to be re-inducted into the Pinarayi Vijayan cabinet. “I am glad the court decided to end the case against me,” he said.

After Saseendran’s exit last March, another legislator from the party – Thomas Chandy – was inducted in his place. However, he also had to quit on land-grab charges.

Initially, the Mangalam News channel aired the audio clip claiming that Saseendran had sought sexual favours from a housewife who approached him on some issue. The recording had two people indulging in a sexually explicit conversation.

However, Mangalam News 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 channel had conducted the sting operation. He was then arrested along with five others, and the state government announced a judicial probe into the case.

First Published: Jan 27, 2018 18:43 IST