CPM suspends PK Sasi for sexual misconduct, Congress demands police probe

No sexual assault by Sasi, says CPM probe panel
Shoranur MLA P K Sasi.

Thiruvananthapuram: Shoranur MLA P K Sasi has been suspended from the primary membership of CPM for six months following charges of sexual misconduct lodged by a complainant. The decision was taken here on Monday by the party's state secretariat. 

Sasi is now a Palakkad district secretariat member.

A commission set up by the CPM to probe an allegation against Sasi had earlier found that he has not committed any sexual assault.

Instead, the commission has recommended that action can be initiated against Sasi for misbehaving with the complainant over phone.

The Left party, in a release, said Sasi was suspended from the CPI(M)'s primary membership for six months after it was found that he had conversed with a woman worker "in a manner not befitting a party leader".

The decision will be implemented after getting the ratification from the party's central committee, the release said.

The phone conversation the legislator had with the complainant has been presented as a key evidence by the commission.

The CPM state secretariat had earlier accepted the inquiry commission's recommendation for action against Sasi.

Though the secretariat discussed the issue last Friday, the decision was postponed to Monday; the recommendation was not forwarded to the state committee since Sasi was leading a party march then.

Sasi, who had earlier dismissed the allegation against him saying it was a "well planned conspiracy" to malign him politically, Monday said he would accept any decision the CPI(M) took against him and would always remain with the party.

An explanation was earlier sought from Sasi on the complaint filed by a DYFI woman leader who had alleged sexual misconduct by him. The explanation submitted by Sasi was discussed on Monday by the state secretariat of the party.

Action was taken after scrutinising the explanation. There was disagreement within the probe commission consisting of ministers A K Balan and P K Sreemathi.

Sreemathi did not accept Balan's claim that the complaint was triggered by factionalism within the party. And, the report doesn't mention factionalism as a reason for the complaint.

After a debate, the report was prepared unanimously by the commission. Party veteran and administrative reforms commission chairman V S Achuthanandan too had sent a letter to the party general secretary seeking strict action against Sasi.

According to media reports, the DYFI leader had filed the complaint alleging the MLA tried to sexually abuse her at the party office at Manarcaud in Palakkad.

The complaint had been sent to CPI(M) politburo member Brinda Karat on August 14 and via an e-mail to CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury as well.

The CPI(M) decision comes a day ahead of the Kerala Assembly session convening on Tuesday, which is likely to be stormy.

Opposition Leader in the State Assembly Ramesh Chennithala demanded that police register a case on its own as Sasi was found guilty of misconduct by the CPI(M).

He said in a statement that in cases relating to sexual harassment against women, it is not the party which should conduct a probe and deliver a verdict.

"The party probe is only an eyewash", he said.