Thiruvananthapuram: In a fresh breather for former minister A.K. Saseendran, a channel reporter who raised sexual allegations against him, gave a clean chit to him before a court here on Thursday.
A woman reporter of Mangalam TV had raised sexual allegations against Saseendran in March 2017, which had forced him to quit the Transport minister’s post. She had also filed a petition before the Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) court.
On Thursday, the reporter stated before the CJM court here that the minister neither talked sleaze to her, nor had made any sexual advances as alleged by her earlier. The court posted the case for orders on Saturday.
The court order would be very crucial as Saseendran could make a comeback to the cabinet if the court dismisses the complaint against him. Sources close to Saseendran said that since the complainant had withdrawn the charges, the chances for any further procedures on the complaint was very remote.
The cabinet berth of the NCP was left vacant after the resignation of Thomas Chandy following the allegations against his Alappuzha resort. Saseendran and Chandy are the only two MLAs of the NCP. Hence, whoever comes clean first could make a re-entry in the Cabinet. This was the understanding within the ruling LDF. It may be recalled that though the woman earlier moved an application at the High Court for quashing the case, she herself withdrew it. This led to speculation that Saseendran would have to fight a long legal battle.
Sources said that it might be in anticipation of legal hurdles that the woman withdrew the application. The Chief Judicial Magistrate court had subsequently started reconsidering the case and Saseendran even took bail last week.
It was while recording the statement of the woman as part of evidence collection on Thursday that she retracted the allegations. The P S Antony Judicial Commission that probed into the matter had also given a clean chit to Saseendran and even recommended stringent action against Mangalam TV. A police probe against the channel officials is still progressing.