Kerala BJP president Surendran granted bail by court in Manjeshwaram poll bribery case

BJP’s Kerala state unit president K Surendran was on Wednesday granted bail by a district court here in the Manjeshwaram election bribery case.

Besides Surendran, the court granted bail to five other accused in the case.

While granting relief to the BJP state president and others, the court directed them to appear in person before it during the hearing of the discharge pleas filed by them.

Reacting to the development, Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) chief K Sudhakaran claimed that Surendran was granted relief as the prosecution did not oppose his bail due to the “bhai-bhai” relationship between the BJP and CPI(M).

Sudhakaran said with the prosecution not opposing the bail of the accused in the case, the relationship between the BJP and CPI(M) has been further strengthened.

He alleged that the prosecution would not take such a stand without a clear directive from Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vjiayan.

The Crime Branch wing of the Kerala police had registered a chargesheet against the BJP state president in the case in January this year.

According to the police, Surendran, facing allegations of intimidating his rival candidate in the 2021 assembly polls for withdrawing from the contest for the Manjeshwaram seat, has been charged under provisions of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act which are non-bailable.

The Kerala police had registered a case against Surendran in June 2021 for allegedly threatening and bribing another candidate to withdraw his nomination for the Manjeswaram Assembly constituency.

The case was registered as per the directions of a Magistrate Court which considered a petition filed by V V Ramesan, the CPI(M) candidate, who fought the election against Surendran in Manjeswaram.

The case was filed under Sections 171 (B) and (E) (Bribery) of the Indian Penal Code. The case was later handed over to the Crime Branch.

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BSP candidate Sundara had alleged that he was initially threatened and later given Rs 2.5 lakh as a bribe by the BJP to withdraw from the contest.

Sundara claimed that Sunil Naik, a Yuva Morcha leader and a close aide of Surendran, had handed over the money and a smartphone to him.

The BJP had denied the allegations.

Sundara, a Yakshagana artiste, had contested the election in 2016. He had filed his nomination once again in 2021, but had withdrawn.

Surendran, however, lost the election from Manjeswaram in the polls. IUML’s A K M Ashraf won the seat with 65,758 votes, while Surendran managed to bag 65,013 votes. CPI(M)’s Ramesan got 40,639 votes.

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