The CPM in Kerala has landed in serious trouble in the wake of the sexual harassment charges levelled against MLA of Shoranur, PK Sasi.
To make matters worse, the divide in the party central leadership came to the fore with party general secretary Sitaram Yechuri asking the state leadership to probe the matter, while former general secretary Prakash Karat denied the party politburo receiving any complaint.
State secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said the party was probing the complaint but refused to divulge any detail. He added that the probe was not at the central leadership's instance. Also, there was no need to involve the police as the complaint was to the party leadership, Kodiyeri said.
According to the complainant, a DYFI leader from Palakkad, she had raised the matter earlier through a letter to Kodiyeri early in August. Since she got no response, she was forced to write to politburo member Brinda Karat.
But this too met the same fate and she wrote to Yechuri who today admitted that the State leadership had been asked to probe the matter. A two-member team is looking into the charge, though Sasi said he was not aware of it and he was innocent and it was “the handiwork of those wanting to defame him’.
Party sources said the complainant accused the MLA of sexually harassing her in Mannarkad as he used to call her up and pass lewd comments. Though the matter was also brought to the notice of the district committee, no action was taken. Senior party leader and former Speaker K. Radhakrishnan said no such complaint was received by the district leadership and the committee meeting on Tuesday did not take up the matter.
Sources said efforts were being made to hush up the matter and a few leaders, including a former MLA, met the complainant requesting her to withdraw the complaint. She was even promised Rs 1 crore and top positions in the youth wing and the party if she complied, according to the news report from some Television channels.
A few years ago, another party leader by the same name and former secretary of the then Chief Minister E K Nayanar, had faced charges which the party probed. Karat, then the general secretary had publicly admitted that there were serious charges of sexual harassment. However, the next day, another politburo member S. Ramachandran Pillai announced at the same venue that Karat had not said there were sexual harassment charges. Then Sasi was acquitted by the party and is now back as a leader in Kannur.