Thiruvananthapuram: KB Ganesh Kumar, a minister in the Congress-led UDF government in Kerala, has resigned following allegations of domestic violence by wife. Mr Kumar put in his papers after a meeting with Chief Minister Oommen Chandy.
Sources say the resignation came after his wife Yamini Thankachy filed a police complaint against him late on Monday evening. Before that, Ms Thankachy, a doctor by profession, had held a press conference alleging that her husband, a former film actor, had physically abused and tortured her for the last 14 years. She alleged that very recently, the minister had "held me by the hair and beaten me up."
Ms Thankachy said this only hours after Mr Kumar had filed for divorce and told the court that his wife had attacked him. He submitted in court photographs that purportedly show him with injuries to the face as evidence.
The incident had earlier sparked speculation that the scandal might force an embarrassed Kerala government to ask its minister to resign. But Ganesh Kumar, who belongs to the Kerala Congress - B, a UDF ally, had reportedly made it clear that if he was made to resign, he would also quit his seat in the Kerala Assembly. Ganesh Kumar is the only MLA from his party in the Kerala Assembly and is the minister for Forest, Cinema and Sports.
The Chandy government has a very slim majority of five in the 140-member House and every legislator counts.
The 46-year-old Mr Kumar and Ms Thankachy have been married for 18 years. They have two children. The minister's wife has alleged that she had earlier complained to Chief Minister Chandy and other ministers about the alleged domestic violence, but that they had done nothing. "I have been cheated. I waited after being asked to do so by the Chief Minister. I have been beaten for the past 14 years. Ganesh Kumar has been in an illicit relationship," she said.
However, Mr Kumar said that he was being blackmailed by his wife and that he wanted a detailed investigation into what he termed was a "political conspiracy". "The chief minister is a respectable person, he knows the complete truth... I want a detailed investigation by an impartial authority... I am innocent, Yamini wants my money... she beat me up, have submitted the photographs to the court," he had said.
Mr Kumar has also been in the news lately for his political differences with his father R Balakrishna Pillai, who founded the Kerala Congress - B. Mr Pillai had reportedly asked Mr Chandy last month to remove his son from his ministerial post.