Setback for Vijayan as HC dismisses plea for withdrawal of case

The Pinarayi Vijayan government suffered a big setback when the Kerala high court on Friday dismissed a plea for withdrawal of a case registered against six Left legislators in 2015 for indulging in vandalism in the assembly.

Now all the six accused will have to face trial.

The government had approached the high court seeking to overrule the decision of the Chief Judicial Magistrate court in the state capital which not only dismissed the government’s plea seeking withdrawal of the case but also asked all the six accused to face trial.

The accused includes Industries Minister E.P. Jayarajan, Higher Education Minister K.T. Jaleel and then four opposition Left legislators who were identified for causing damage to property on the floor of the assembly on the day the then State Finance Minister K.M. Mani presented the annual budget for the next fiscal.

It was last year in September that the local court in the state capital dismissed the plea and it was against this that the government went to the high court.

The other four include V. Sivankutty, K. Kunju Ahamed, C.K. Sadasivan and K. Ajith, who are not legislators now.

It was following Sivankutty’s letter to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan for withdrawal of the case that the government decided to wirhdraw it, even though a Crime Branch probe had found that a lot of wrong things had been done by the then opposition, who presently rule the state.

Following this move by the Vijayan government, Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala impleaded in the petition stating that the case should not be withdrawn as public property was destroyed by responsible people.

The vandalism took place on March 13, 2015.

The then CPI-M led opposition had taken a strong stand that Mani, who was accused of taking a bribe of Rs one crore from a bar owner for reopening the closed bars, would not be allowed to present the budget.

When Mani began his speech, the Left legislators went berserk, throwing down the Speaker’s chair from the dais and damaging the electronic equipment on his table.

After the incident, the then Speaker N. Sakthan asked for a Crime Branch probe.

The probe concluded that six legislators, including current State Ministers Jaleel and Jayarajan, had taken part in the ruckus.

The others named were legislators Sivankutty, Kunju Ahamed, Sadasivan and Ajith.

The present assembly Speaker P. Sreeramakrishnan, who was not directly involved in the ruckus, was seen moving around when the incident took place.

In the upcoming April 6 elections, Jaleel and Sivankutty are candidates of the CPI-M led Left.

Reacting to the verdict, Jayarajan said that the legal battle will continue and they will approach the Supreme Court and if the verdict is to go to jail, they will go to jail also.

Today, Mani’s party now led by his son Jose K.Mani, is an ally of the ruling Left Democratic Front.