A day after Mangalam News CEO and four journalists were arrested by the Crime Branch in the honey trap scandal involving former minister AK Saseendran, the woman scribe who allegedly trapped the senior politician filed a complaint accusing him of pestering her with lewd phone calls. The former minister made sexual advances and continuously harassed her over phone, the scribe alleged in a statement made before the Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM).

 
The journalist, who was allegedly absconding since the channel aired the phone sex tape, appeared before the CJM court on Wednesday and filed a criminal miscellaneous petition. The journalist claimed that Saseendran offered her permanent government job in return for sexual favours.

 

According to the journalist, she met Saseendran when he was the Transport Minister for making a television programme on women safety. The politician obliged an interview at his home later and during the interview he turned flirtatious. The former minister offered her a permanent job in Transport Department. He also invited her for a foreign trip together.
 

Related: Complaints pour in as police mull case against 'honey-trap journalism'


Subsequently, the journalist informed Mangalam News CEO Ajith Kumar about the misbehavior of the politician. When the channel officials took up the issue, Saseendran apologized to the journalist. But that doesn’t stop him from calling her and continue harassment over phone, the complaint said. It was at this point that she handed over the recorded conversation to her higher ups in the channel.
 

The CJM recorded the statement of the scribe, who is also accused in the case filed by the Crime Branch in connection with the scandal. The Court posted the case to 15 April.
 

Related: Sleaze talk: Television channel admits minister was set-up in a honey-trap
 

The account of the woman scribe contradicted the Channel CEO Ajith Kumar’s version that it was a sting operation. He had gone on air, apologizing for the ‘mistake’ and promised that his channel would never repeat it.

 

Related: Sex talk scandal: Judicial commission to probe conspiracy angle
 

Ever since the controversial broadcast of the sleaze tape, the channel has been coming up with different versions on how they accessed the audio clip. The channel aired the clip alleging that the politician was making sexual advances towards a woman who approached him for help. When nobody came up with a complaint, even after the resignation of Saseendran as Transport Minister, Mangalam News CEO dismissed allegations of honey trap. It took more than a week for Mangalam to admit that it was sting operation. But the complaint by the woman scribe rules out sting operation, making things complicated further.

 

Meanwhile, the magistrate remanded Ajith Kumar and four journalists in judicial custody for 14 days. The Crime Branch had grilled the five suspects in the case for over 12 hours before producing them before the magistrate. Mangalam cried foul against the police ‘excess’. Mangalam Newspaper painted its editorial column black in protest. Kerala Union of Working Journalist also deplored what it called ‘police activism’ in the case. The Crime Branch is harassing journalists who are not involved in the incident, it alleged.