Settling sexual harassment case; Saseendran gets clean chit

Kerala minister A K Saseendran
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A police investigation report said that Saseendra had only told the father of father of the alleged victim to “settle the case in the proper way” and it did not tantamount to coercion.

Kerala minister A K Saseendran
Kerala minister A K Saseendran

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Police have given a clean chit to Kerala Forest Minister A K Saseendran with regard to allegations that he had attempted to settle a sexual harassment case, saying no offence has been committed by him.

A Deputy Superintendent of Police, who conducted a preliminary enquiry into the complaint filed by a Muslim Youth League leader, has filed a report to Kollam District Police chief, stating that no further steps need to be taken against Saseendran in connection with the charges against him.

The report, also based on the legal advice provided by a government pleader, has said that the minister, during his short telephonic talks with the father of the alleged victim, had only told him to “settle the case in the proper way” and it did not tantamount to coercion.

Besides, the minister neither mentioned the alleged victim’s name nor made any remarks against her during the talks.

Saseendran, an NCP leader, also did not use any word amounting to intimidate the alleged victim to persuade her to withdraw the petition filed against one of his party colleagues, who allegedly attempted to sexually assault her, it said.

The copy of the report was leaked to the media on Wednesday.

The state had witnessed protests by Congress and BJP workers, demanding the resignation of Saseendran after the victim gave a statement to the police in Kollam district, accusing the minister of trying to settle a case against the NCP leader.

When the issue was raised in the State Assembly by the Opposition Congress, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had defended the minister.

“The complainant and the accused in the case are party workers of the NCP.

The minister had made it clear, that as a party leader, he just enquired about a dispute between the two party workers,” Vijayan said.

The opposition UDF had alleged that it was clear through the audio clip of Saseendran’s conversation with the alleged victim’s father, which was aired in the media, that the minister interfered in the probe.

The minister, instead of supporting the victim, tried to influence her father, the opposition had said.

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