Saseendran had only good intentions when he wanted harassment case to be solved in a 'good way'

AK Saseendran
AK Saseendran

Kerala government has received legal advice saying there was nothing legally bad or improper about forest minister A K Saseendran's remark to the father of a sexual harassment victim to solve the case in a "good way" ("nalla nilayil pariharam kaanuka").

A top source said that based on the legal advice, the government would not initiate police action against Saseendran. Opposition leader V D Satheesan said that the UDF would initiate legal measures if the government was planning to withdraw the case against Saseendran.

Different individuals had filed cases against the minister in various police stations for what had been termed his illegal intervention to subvert a female harassment case. All the cases were then transferred to the Kundara Police Station.

The Kollam district government pleader and public prosecutor R Sethunathen Pillai had done a thorough semantic parsing before officially informing the Sasthamcotta deputy superintendent of police that there was nothing wrong in the phrase "solve in a good way".

The government pleader, with the aid of the Malayalam-English dictionary brought out by DC Books, said that to solve things in a good way was just another way of saying that things should be settled "well" or "very well" or "in a proper way". It was clearly not a hint to do anything out of the way, the lawyer's report said.

Further, it was said that there was no sign that the minister had used threats or his political power to force the father of the victim to either settle the issue or withdraw the case against a senior leader of the NCP party.

What's more, the public prosecutor said that the minister did not use the name of the victim nor did he speak disparagingly of the victim.

The audio clip that raised doubts about Saseendran's interest in a harassment case came out on July 20. It involved a conversation the minister had had with the father of the victim. The accused and the father of the victim were NCP leaders. The victim, however, was a BJP member.

It was on June 28 that the woman had filed a complaint with the Kundara police station alleging that NCP state executive member G Padmakaran had caught hold of her hand and attempted to molest her inside the hotel of the accused. The incident had happened in March.

The victim, in her complaint, said that Padmakaran had called her to his hotel. He wanted to know why she had joined the BJP when everyone else in her family belonged to the NCP. According to the complaint, Padmakaran said that if it was money that she needed he would give it to her and, saying this, caught her hand. The victim says she did not have the courage to respond at that moment.

Besides the attempt to molest, the victim in her complaint said that Padmakaran had spread false information about her, and vilified her, on social media.

In the audio clip, the minister is heard indirectly broaching the subject. He tells the father of the victim about certain problems in the NCP. The father then wants to know which problem the minister was referring to.

When Saseendran seems hesitant, the father himself mentions Padmakaran's behaviour towards his daughter. The minister confirms that it was what he was referring to. "I want the issue solved in a good manner," the minister says.

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