TT Epaper
The Telegraph
Graphiti
 
CIMA Gallary

German success to scandal

Thiruvananthapuram, Feb. 11: A just “retired” German MP with his roots in Kerala has denied a newspaper report that a police search of his home and office yesterday was linked to his possession of child porn.

Sebastian Edathy, 44, belongs to the German Social Democrat Party (SPD), a Centre-Left group that is part of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition government. Born in Hanover, Edathy is the son of immigrants from Kerala.

Last year, he had presented German parliament Bundestag’s acclaimed report on bungled police probes into a neo-Nazi murder spree, causing heads to roll, reported the Deutsche Welle newspaper.

But he sprang a surprise last Saturday by saying he had quit his parliament seat on Friday on health grounds.

Die Harke, a newspaper in Edathy’s former constituency in the northern district of Nienburg, published the child porn claim today.

The public prosecutor’s office in Hanover, the capital of Germany’s northern state of Lower Saxony, confirmed that an investigation had been started against Edathy but gave no details, media reports said.

Edathy defended himself on his Facebook page, saying “the public assertion that I was myself in possession of child pornographic writings” was “untrue” and “based only on speculation”.

“I assume that the presumption of innocence applies also to me. A punishable behaviour does not exist,’’ read a Google translation of his post.

Edathy has threatened to file charges on the ground that the local media were present during the search of his home, Deutsche Welle reported.

According to newspaper reports, Edathy was first elected to the Bundestag in 1998 and headed its federal committee for policing and security between 2005 and 2008. For 19 months, he chaired the parliament’s cross-party committee of inquiry into a far-Right murder spree.

Last August, its report concluded that the killings went undetected for years because German security services made scores of errors, Deutsche Welle reported. The police had initially and falsely assumed that a Turkish gang was behind the murders.

The so-called National Socialist Underground group killed eight small-business proprietors of Turkish origin, a Greek immigrant, and a German policewoman between 2000 and 2007, according to Deutsche Welle.

One of 47 recommendations made by Edathy’s committee was that the police should hire more people from the ethnic minorities to help change the mentality within the force. Several domestic intelligence officials resigned amid the scandal, Deutsche Welle said.

In Berlin on Tuesday, the SPD’s parliamentary caucus manager, Christine Lambrecht, said the party was “deeply shaken” by the allegations against Edathy, the newspaper added.

Lambrecht and other SPD officials demanded the fastest possible clarification of the circumstances.