Kerala minister quits over alleged sleazy phone conversation
Kerala Transport minister A K Saseendran on Sunday announced his resignation from the CPI(M)-led LDF government in Kerala after a purported audio clip of him speaking in sexual undertones to a woman emerged.
The audio clipping was released by a Malayalam television channel on Sunday afternoon.
`Hours later, the minister, who was in Kozhikode, hurriedly convened a press meet and announced his resignation.
Saseendran, of Nationalist Congress Party, a coalition party of LDF, said he had already informed Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who he said had not sought his resignation.
The minister said his resignation should not be seen as an acceptance of guilt.
"My resignation is to uphold political morality", he told reporters. Pointing out that he had not behaved in an improper manner with anyone, Saseendran said he was prepared to face any probe.
"A proper investigation is needed. All facts should come", he said, adding he welcomed any probe.
"My stand is I have not done anything wrong. I am denying the allegation and welcome any probe", he said.
Saseendran is the second minister after E P Jayarajan, former Industries minister, to quit the 10-month-old Vijayan cabinet. This is the second blow to the 10th month CPI(M)-led LDF government in Kerala after the resignation of Jayarajan over charges of nepotism for appointing two of his close relatives to top position in state PSUs. The development comes at a time when the Malappuram bypoll is to be held on April 12. As soon as media reports surfaced, Saseendran cancelled all his public programmes at Kozhikode and remained indoors at the government guest house. Meanwhile, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, said he viewed the allegations 'seriously'.
"After examining all facts, a decision will be taken," he said.
Vijayan said the minister had spoken to him. Opposition leader in the assembly Ramesh Chennithala said the Chief Minister should conduct a probe and if the minister is guilty, he should be asked to resign. "The truth needs to come out. The report has shocked everyone," Chennithala told reporters in Thiruvananthapuram.