Two months have passed since the key accused in the gold smuggling case, Swapna Suresh, levelled allegations of sexual harassment against three prominent CPI(M) leaders in Kerala and dared them to file defamation suits against her if they felt the charges were wrong.
CPI(M) state secretary MV Govindan recently disclosed at a press conference that the party had permitted filing separate defamation cases against Swapna Suresh by the three leaders — Kadakampalli Surendran, TM Thomas Issac and P Sreeramakrishnan — as soon as the media reported the allegation.
But none of the leaders have taken any steps to file defamation cases against Swapna Suresh.
While Surendran was the tourism and devaswom affairs minister in the first Pinarayi Vijayan Cabinet, Issac held the finance portfolio. Sreeramakrishnan was the Speaker of the Kerala Assembly at that time.
In interviews given to some Malayalam TV news channels on 21 October, Swapna had alleged that Isaac, Surendran and Sreeramakrishnan had sought sexual favours from her even while in office.
According to party sources, the leaders are reluctant to file defamation cases as they fear it would provoke Swapna Suresh to make more negative declarations. She could even release evidence proving her claims — as she has said she would do in court.
She has already circulated some pictures of Sreeramakrishnan apparently in a drunken state, and warned that it was only a “test dose”. The former Speaker has yet to say anything about the authenticity of those pictures.
Kadakampally has made it clear that he would not prefer any war of words with Swapna. All three leaders now remain tight-lipped over the allegations, hoping the party would decide eventually to overlook them.
In the case of Congress-led Opposition UDF, several of its leaders faced similar allegations in the past, especially by solar scam accused Saritha who did not even spare then chief minister Oommen Chandy.
Projecting themselves as champions of morality, the CPI(M) had then used all those charges as political tools to win the Assembly election.
But now the courts are exonerating the UDF leaders one after another for want of evidence. Would that enthuse to the three CPI(M) to file charges of defamation against Swapna Suresh? Don’t hold your breath on this one.