Kerala transport Minister AK Saseendran resigns after lewd phone conversation scandal


Kerala Transport minister AK Saseendran resigned today after an audio clip of a sexually explicit conversation, allegedly between him and a woman, was aired by a nearby TV channel. Within hours, the minister, who was in Kozhikode, hurriedly convened a press meet and reported his resignation. The 71-year-old minister has denied any wrongdoing.

This was the second time a minister stepped down from the 10-month-old LDF government. Five months back EP Jayarajan, who held the industries portfolio, had resigned following allegations of impropriety.

Mr Saseendran, an individual from LDF ally Nationalist Congress Party, said he had not behaved improperly with anybody and his resignation should not be viewed as an acceptance of guilt.

“My resignation is to uphold political morality,” Mr Saseendran told columnists, including that Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had not requested his resignation.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan – who is leading the coalition of 11 parties – said he viewed the allegations “seriously” and a decision will be taken after “examining all facts”.

“I welcome any probe”, said Mr Saseendran, a five-time legislator who had switched camp from Congress to Sharad Pawar’s NCP. “A proper investigation is needed. All realities should come. My stand is I have not done anything wrong. I am denying the allegation,” included the minister, who cancelled all his public projects at Kozhikode and remained indoors at the government guest house.

This is the second hit to the CPI(M)- led LDF government in Kerala after the resignation of Mr Jayarajan over allegations of nepotism in October. He had allegedly appointed two of his close relatives to top posts in Public Sector Units.

Ramesh Chennithala, the leader of Opposition in the assembly, said the Chief Minister should conduct a probe and if the minister is guilty, he should be made a request to leave. “Reality needs to come out. The report has stunned everybody,” Mr Chennithala told reporters in Thiruvananthapuram.

Mr Saseendran is one of NCP’s two legislators in the state and speaks to the Elathur constituency.