Congress MP N Peethambara Kurup was on Sunday booked by the police on a complaint by leading Malayalam cine actress Shweta Menon that she had been molested by him at a function here on Friday.
Police charged 71-year-old Kurup with IPC sections 354 and 354 (A) for assault or criminal force against a woman with intent to outrage her modesty.
Mr. Kurup, who represents Kollam in the Lok Sabha, was booked within hours of a police team recording the statement of the actress in which she stood firm by her charge against the politician.
Ms. Menon said she was also harassed by another person during the President’s Trophy boat race here, who has also been charged.
Acting on a complaint lodged by CPI(M)’s youth outfit DYFI, the police team led by a woman circle inspector went to Kochi this morning to record her statement.
The 39-year-old actress told police at her apartment in Kochi that she was insulted by Mr. Kurup and another person during the function.
Ms. Shweta, two-time state award winner and also a TV anchor, broke down while the statement was being recorded.
She along with her husband Sreevalsan Menon, had told reporters last night after meeting office bearers of various film industry bodies that she would forward a detailed complaint to Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, whom she is likely to meet on Tuesday.
She also took strong objection to Kollam District Collector B Mohanan for “ignoring” her grievance when he was informed about it shortly after the incident.
Mr. Mohanan had said he had not received any complaint either orally or in writing.
He said he had ordered Kollam City Police Commissioner to inquire into the complaint from Aisha Potti, CPI—M MLA from Kottarakkara in the district.
Earlier in the day, Kurup reiterated that the charge against him was totally untrue and he produced some photographs of the event, claiming that the actress was harrassed at the scene by some others.
“I am past 70. I have passed the age of getting excited by the presence of women at public functions,” he said.
The incident has triggered strong protests from film fraternity and women’s outfits, which have deploring “failure” of the authorities to act against the MP.