April 2017
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Kerala government orders judicial probe into minister’s episode
( Thiruvananthapuram, Mar,27,2017): The Kerala government on Monday decided to order a judicial probe into the circumstances leading to the resignation of a second minister from the cabinet, said Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to reporters here.

Transport Minister A.K. Saseendran on Sunday resigned after an audio emerged in which he was heard having a lewd conversation with a woman on phone.

“He (Saseendran) handed over his resignation and it was sent to Kerala Governor P. Sathasivam yesterday (on Sunday) itself and it has been accepted,” Chief Minister Vijayan said.

Saseendran was of the firm opinion that he would resign in the wake of the scandal, Vijayan said. “He did not want to sit in the chair while the probe is on.”

“We decided to order a judicial probe and will finalise other details during Wednesday’s cabinet meeting,” the Chief Minister said.

A probe by a sitting judge has never materialised in Kerala, so the final decision on the nature of the probe would be taken by the cabinet and it includes the terms of reference, said Vijayan. On Monday morning, Saseendran met Vijayan and reiterated that he did nothing wrong.

“I have told the Chief Minister that there are loose ends in the case made out against me and welcomed a probe into it. The Chief Minister will decide on the nature of the probe,” Saseendran told the media.

The next to meet Vijayan were Kerala Police chief Loknath Behra and Home Secretary Nalini Netto.

Meanwhile, the state unit of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) — to which Saseendran belongs and which is supporting the CPIMled Left Democratic Front — is meeting here on Tuesday to discuss the turn of events, state party President Uzhavoor Vijayan said.

“We will decide on what needs to be done as we have one more legislator, Thomas Chandy. We are an ally of the Left Democratic Front (LDF) and hence we have a natural claim of getting a cabinet post,” he said.

Saseendran is the second minister to resign since the LDF took office.

In 2016, CPIM strongman and Industries Minister E.P. Jayarajan quit on charges of nepotism.

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