- Will a code of conduct for Ministers help?
When one takes a closer look at the sex scandals which rocked political sphere in the State, it can be noticed that most of them began with a motor accident. Another interesting coincidence is that four among those who were involved in similar scandals were transport ministers including, AK Saseendran—the latest one to join the bandwagon.
Also read: Kerala, a society where sex scandals are a daily affair
1. PT Chacko, 1964: Victim of moral policing
In February, while making its way through a procession, a car hit a pull cart at Peechi in central Kerala. The locals noticed a woman wearing a big bindi and dark goggles inside the car, which was driven by PT Chacko, who was handling the Home and Revenue portfolios then. Despite there being no proof of any sexual escapade and no clarity on the identity of the woman, all hell broke loose in the state. In the process, PT Chacko resigned. The promising political career of the first Opposition leader of the state ended abruptly when he succumbed to a heart attack on August 1, 1964 at the age of 49. His untimely death led to the formation of a political party, Kerala Congress, by his followers, the following year.
2. Kunhalikutty, 2004: A scandal that refuses to melt down
The Ice-cream parlour case is one of the biggest and most controversial cases of sexual exploitation, money and politics in Kerala. This sensational case was the focus of media mainly due to the involvement of Muslim League leader and former minister Kunhalikutty. In 2004, a 24-year-old woman, Rejina Fathima, met some journalists at the office of a leading Malayalam TV channel where she alleged Kunhalikutty of having had sex with her during his previous stint as a minister in
Kunhalikutty, who is the leader of the Legislative party and was elected as the national general secretary of the party, is seeking mandate to Lok Sabha from Malappuram in the upcoming bypolls.
3. A Neelalohithadasan Nadar, 1999: Misuse of the office
The three time minister and former MP was caught in the middle of a major scandal following allegations by two women bureaucrats, Nalini Netto and Prakriti Srivastava. A magistrate court in 2005 sentenced Nadar to three months of imprisonment and a compensation of Rs 50,000 for sexually harassing Nalini Netto, former transport secretary, at his chamber at the Assembly complex on December 21, 1999. Netto had sustained injuries on her lips and the right index finger in the melee, according to the charge sheet. He was sentenced to one year imprisonment by a court in Kozhikode in a similar case of sexual harassment raised by Prakriti Srivastava, in 2000.
In 2011 he was denied a ticket by the LDF following reservations raised by V S Achuthanandan over his reputation and subsequently, his wife Jameela Prakasam contested the elections and won the seat from Kovalam.
4. PJ Joseph, 2006: A fall from the sky
In a complaint against P J Joseph--chairman of Kerala Congress, an ally of the Left Democratic Front government--Lakshmi Gopakumar, a television personality alleged that Joseph “misbehaved” with her while they were travelling on a Chennai-Kochi flight on August 3, 2006. Joseph, then a minister in the LDF ministry, resigned following the allegations. Police registered a case under section 354 of the IPC and section 4 of the Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Sexual Harassment Act. Later, he was acquitted by a Chennai court. He continued his winning streak in polls and his party merged with the Kerala Congress (Mani) and he held the portfolios of Water resources in the next UDF ministry. He is a member of the Kerala Legislative Assembly now.
5. P Sasi, 2010: Unhealthy practices
CPM had to expel P Sasi, former district secretary of Kannur and a powerful leader of the party, over allegations of sexual misconduct. Two complaints, one in writing and the second informally, were lodged against him. In the first case, the wife of a DYFI leader had accused Sasi of misbehaving with her. In the second, a former CPM State committee member had informally complained to then party State secretary Pinarayi Vijayan about sexual advances Sasi had made to his daughter.
Following the allegations, CPM Kannur district secretariat removed Sasi as CPM Kannur district secretary on December 13, 2010, and demoted him to
the Peralassery Keezhara branch committee. P Sasi is now practising as a lawyer.
6. Gopi Kottamurickal, 2012: Caught in the camera
Former CPM Ernakulam district secretary Gopi Kottamurikkal was expelled from the party after he was caught with a woman in a spy-cam operation allegedly by his rivals in the party. A party appointed committee found him guilty.
The former MLA, in a TV interview and later in a public meeting, alleged that he was framed by members of the Ernakulam district secretariat of the party. An inquiry committee found at least three of the party members guilty of involvement in creating evidence against Gopi Kottamurickal because of the factional rivalry within the district unit. Now he is back in the party and is an office bearer of a feeder organisation.
7. Rajmohan Unnithan, 2012: A mid night drama
Police picked up AICC member Rajmohan Unnithan and a 33-year-old woman, a former secretary of the Seva Dal in Manjeri around midnight after the locals surrounded a house and demanded their arrest. They were booked under the immoral trafficking act. A medical report certified there was no sexual contact between the two but the scandal broke at a time when the 58-year-old was planning a comeback in state politics. No Congress leader came out in support of Unnithan, who is also an actor and a leader known for his crowd - pulling oratory. Unnithan later became the chairman of the Kerala State Film Development Corporation and contested to the state Assembly unsuccessfully in 2016.
8. Ganesh Kumar, 2013: A soap opera
After a report on alleged domestic violence involving a minister appeared on a leading Malayalam daily, PC George--the chief whip--announced the name of the minister and identified him as the Kerala Congress (B) leader and Forest minister KB Ganesh Kumar.
Following this, Ganesh Kumar’s former wife Yamini Thankachi filed police complaint alleging physical abuse and torture for 14 years. Earlier, Ganesh Kumar had filed a divorce petition alleging that his wife beat him up. After the scandal caused embarrassment for the ruling coalition, he was made to resign in April 2013.
9. Solar scam,2013: A sun rise in the night
Though it came as a financial fraud, what remains in the public memory is
its sleaze element. The names of a number of leaders cutting across party lines,
especially from the Congress and the Kerala Congress were linked to Saritha S Nair, the con woman. What should have become a political discussion on impropriety or corruption, because the phones that were used belonged to CM’s aides turned to be stories garnished with sexual innuendoes of the woman and the leaders. The state shamelessly discussed about the sex clips of the woman.
10. Jose Thettayil, 2013: Sinned against sinning
In June 2013, a news Channel aired visuals similar to porn movies. It contained images of the former transport minister Jose Thettayil and a 30-year-old woman in compromising position.