Kerala Assembly Budget Day clashes: Court rejects govt plea to withdraw criminal cases against accused including 2 ministers

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The court asked all the accused in the case including two ministers to appear before CJM court in Thiruvananthapuram on October 15

In a major setback to the Pinarayi Vijayan-led Kerala government, a local court in the state on Tuesday rejected the state government’s plea to withdraw criminal cases against the then Left Democratic Front (LDF) legislators for vandalizing the properties in the House during the Budget presentation in 2015.

The court asked all the seven accused legislators, of whom two are ministers in the LDF government, to appear before the Chief Judicial Magistrate Court (CJM) in Thiruvananthapuram on October 15.

The accused are state Industries Minister EP Jayarajan, Higher Education Minister KT Jaleel, while four accused are former LDF legislators namely CPM's V Sivankutty, C K Sadasivan and K Kunjahmed Master, and CPI's K Ajith.

Though there is a chargesheet against them, none of the accused appeared before the court even once and they are yet to seek bail in the case.

The clashes and subsequent vandalisation in the Kerala Assembly happened after then LDF Opposition tried to prevent then UDF Finance Minister KM Mani from presenting the Budget. The LDF was on warpath against Mani in the alleged liquor bar corruption case seeking his resignation.

When the UDF government tried to present the Budget, the Opposition LDF tried to stall it and it ended up in clashes and destruction of the properties in the House.  

The LDF members stormed the Speaker’s podium and destroyed the computer and mike on the table. They broke the Speaker’s chair as well in the bedlam.

Officially, the damages were estimated to be about Rs 3 lakh and the state crime branch had registered an offence against the accused on charges of destroying public properties in the House.

When the LDF returned to power in 2016, it filed a plea in the court to withdraw the case on the basis of one of an application given by one the accused Sivankutty to the government.

The Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala moved the court against this. Earlier, two activists from Kottayam -- M T Thomas and Peter Njalipparambil -- had also approached the court seeking its intervention in the case and to recover the losses from the accused.  

The state government argued that the trial would cast the Assembly in a bad light, and therefore would be against public interest.

The CJM court rejected all the arguments of the state government in the case.

Image credit: Manorama

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