The Opposition staged a walk out in the Assembly on Thursday after Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said that forest minister A K Saseendran had done nothing wrong in calling up the father of a victim of harassment.
At the most, the chief minister suggested Saseendran's behaviour was foolish. "He called up thinking it was an internal issue. But by the time he had called, the minister did not know that many other things had happened," the chief minister said, using a tone that sounded like he was making fun of Saseendran. The chief minister was responding to an adjournment motion moved by Congress legislator P C Vishnunath in the Assembly. The chief minister also said that Saseendran had not called up any police officer.
Later, Leader of Opposition V D Satheesan asked how the chief minister could confidently say that the minister had not tried to influence police officials. "Then why do you think the police were reluctant to file an FIR even after 20 days, " he asked.
Satheesan said the chief minister had given an "unnecessary justification" for the minister's action. He said it was clear from the audio clip that the minister was calling the father of the victim fully aware of the molestation charge. While moving the adjournment motion, Vishnunath had read out the audio excerpts to show that the minister himself had admitted that he knew what the issue was.
Besides exonerating the minister, the chief minister, quoting from the police report, said the complainant had not appeared before the Kundara police on June 30, the day both the parties were called.
Vishnunath contested this saying the chief minister was misled by the police. "She went to the station on the appointed day but was asked to stand outside. And then, after sometime, she was asked to leave," Vishnunath said.
Satheesan said it was unfortunate that a chief minister was destined to read inside the Assembly a false report prepared by the police.
Though he said the police were not trying to hide anything, the chief minister conceded there was an inordinate delay in filing an FIR in the case. "Such a delay should not have happened in such a case, " the chief minister said. He said the DGP himself would probe the delay.
Both Satheesan and Vishnunath had asked why the police had failed to act even though the charge involved a cognisable offence.
Both also wanted Saseendran to resign, and if he was not willing, they asked the chief minister to remove him from the Cabinet without delay.