Signalling further trouble for Kerala Forests Minister K B Ganesh Kumar, his wife Yamini today alleged she had been a victim of "domestic violence" hours after her husband moved a divorce petition in the family court here accusing her of `blackmailing and manhandling' him.
Denting the image of the Congress-led UDF Government, the Ganesh Kumar affair took a unsavoury turn within days after a truce brokered by the UDF leadership among the Minister, his estranged father and Kerala Congress (B) supremo R Balakrishna Pillai and Yamini.
The family dispute surfaced in the open again with the film actor-turned politician alleging in his divorce petition that he was even beaten up by his wife in front of his personal staff.
Within hours, Yamini hit back saying that it was she who had been the victim of domestic violence for the last 16 years for questioning "illicit affairs" of her husband.
Yamini, who broke down while airing her grievances, told reporters that she did not receive justice from Chief Minister Oommen Chandy who promised to settle the dispute.
"What wrong I have done? Why should they defame me. Now things have reached such a stage that the victim has been turned into an accused," Yamini, mother of two children, said.
Claiming that she even approached Chandy with a petition narrating her sufferings and he promised that the matter could be settled through mediation, Yamini alleged "she has been cheated by persons, whom she trusted including the Chief Minister."
Ganesh Kumar was caught in a controversy a month ago after a newspaper published a report that a state Minister was beaten up by the husband of a woman with whom he had an affair.Seizing on the report, Government Chief Whip P C George had said Kumar was the Minister mentioned in the report.
The parleys by mediators, including Labour Minister Shibu Baby John, in recent weeks to settle the dispute between the couple have apparently failed, with Kumar stating in his petition that he could no longer move together with his wife.
Kumar filed his petition before the family court here. The court would hear the plea on April 30 and send a notice to Yamini after taking the statement of the Minister.
The minister, in his petition, said that his wife did not stand by him during his trials and tribulations. She had even manhandled him and was blackmailing him joining his political rivals.
Adding to his woes, his father and Kerala Congress-B chairman R Balakrishna Pillai today renewed the party's demand to the Chief Minister that Ganesh Kumar should be removed from the cabinet for not obeying the diktats of the party