Kerala HC to take up bail pleas of journalists on Thursday

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Kochi/Thiruvananthapuram, April 3 (IANS) The Kerala High Court on Monday fixed for Thursday the hearing on three anticipatory bail pleas filed by the Chairman of Mangalam TV and eight of its journalists in a sting operation case.

The court, however, did not stay the arrest of these nine persons before Thursday.

Mangalam TV officials approached the high court after a case was registered against them on Friday for airing an audio in which Transport Minister A.K. Saseendran allegedly made a lewd conversation with a woman on phone.

Opposing the bail pleas on behalf of the Kerala government, Director General of Prosecution M. Sreedharan Nair said the accused had failed to present themselves before the probe team that waited for them for two days.

The court then asked if the government could given an assurance that they won’t be arrested, which was declined by the government counsel.

The nine persons include the channel head, seven journalists and the woman who allegedly made the call.

The audio was aired on March 26, leading to a political furore. Within hours, Saseendran announced his resignation from the Cabinet.

The Pinarayi Vijayan government announced judicial and police probes and forced channel CEO and senior journalist R. Ajithkumar to come out with an unconditional apology.

The police team investigating the case again visited the channel office here on Monday and recorded statements of channel staff present on the occasion and took into possession the channel’s registration details.

The team had visited the office on Sunday as well.

–IANS

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