The Congress in Kerala on Sunday suspended its MLA M Vincent from the party post after he was arrested for allegedly raping and stalking a woman, though it defended him saying "the case and his arrest is politically motivated."
"Though the rape charges and the arrest was part of a political conspiracy, considering the complaint of the woman, the Congress has decided to suspend Vincent from the party secretary post, Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee president M M Hassan told reporters in Thiruvananthapuram.
He would stand divested of the party post till his innocence in the case is proved, Hassan said, adding, Vincent has told the party that he was confident that he would be able to prove his innocence in the court.
The Congress rejected the demand of the ruling Communist Party of India Marxist-led Left Democratic Front for the resignation of Vincent and said there was no need for it now.
"Party will take a call on that after he is declared guilty by the court," he said.
Terming the arrest as an unusual step, Hassan wanted the police to probe the conspiracy angle to the whole episode.
"The charges against the MLA were converted into rape following political pressure exerted by local CPI-M MLA K Ansalan and some of its local leaders," Hassan alleged.
Hassan also mentioned about media reports on statement of the victim's sister that "it is a case of political conspiracy and the victim is suffering from mental problem."
Stating that the case and further steps against Vincent was taken in a haste, Hassan said the CPIM-led LDF government had not taken any action against its worker in Vadakancherry and NCP MLA A K Saseendhran who were facing sexual harassment complaint by women.
Meanwhile, the CPI-M rubbished the Congress charges that political conspiracy was behind the arrest of Vincent and said the government initiated steps as per the law.
CPI-M State Secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said the MLA was charged and arrested on the basis of the deposition of the victim, which was very important in such cases.
"I failed to understand the logic behind the Congress party's charge that the case is part of political conspiracy," he said.
The LDF government is committed to protect women from any atrocity and would take stern action against persons who indulge in crime against women, he said.
Vincent, representing Kovalam segment in the assembly, was arrested on Saturday on charges of rape and abatement of suicide under respectively under sections 376 and 306 of the Indian Penal Code.
A Neyyatinkara magisterial court sent him to judicial custody yesterday for 14 days.
The incident came to light on July 19 after the 51-year-old woman attempted to commit suicide by consuming an overdose of sleeping pills and her husband filed a police complaint against the MLA, alleging that he used to repeatedly call her over the phone and harasser her.
The police had said that the MLA had made more than 900 calls to the woman in the past few months.
The police had questioned Vincent for over three hours at the MLA's Thiruvananthapuram hostel on Saturday after which he was arrested.
Photograph: PTI Photo