Kerala Court Allows Police Plea for Further Probe in 2015 Assembly Ruckus Case

A Kerala court on Thursday allowed a police plea for further investigation in the 2015 Assembly ruckus case in which charges have already been framed against six prominent LDF leaders including State General Education Minister V Sivankutty.

A court of Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) granted the police 60 days to carry out the probe and directed it to provide progress reports every three weeks, public prosecutor K Balachandra Menon said.

The prosecutor said that the police had sought permission to carry out further probe on the ground that the initial investigation had not considered complaints of some of the then Left MLAs and also the injuries suffered by several watch-and-ward staff of the Assembly.

Another ground cited by the police in its plea was that statements of the then Speaker, various LDF and UDF MLAs were not recorded in connection with the incident.

Interestingly, the plea by the police for further probe comes after it already filed a charge sheet in the case and the court in September last year framed charges against Sivankutty, LDF convener E P Jayarajan, Left MLA K T Jaleel and former MLAs K Ajith, C K Sadasivan and K Kunhammed.

All the accused have denied the charges against them.

However, before the court could set a date for trial to commence, the police filed the instant plea for further probe — a move which the opposition Congress in the state has termed as an attempt to delay trial in the case.

Leader of Opposition (LoP) in the state assembly V D Satheesan said that the ruling Left government was trying to delay trial in the case as it knows that Sivankutty and the other accused would be found guilty and punished in the matter.

“Seeking a further investigation before the start of the trial is to prolong the case. It is a case that has been investigated in various ways. There has never been a case with so many witnesses,” he said.

Satheesan said that Malayalis across the world who saw what happened in the Assembly were witnesses to that “crime”.

He alleged that the police and the government were misusing the prosecution.

All the six accused are facing charges under Sections 447 (criminal trespass), 427 (mischief causing damage), read with Section 34 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Sec 3(1) of the Prevention of Damage to Public Property (PDPP) Act.

The Kerala High Court had in September last year declined to stay trial in the case and directed the accused to be present before the magisterial court.

The high court’s order came on a criminal revision petition moved by the accused last year against the dismissal of their discharge plea by a lower court in Thiruvananthapuram.

The accused had claimed before the high court that the findings against them are not supported by any legal evidence, none of the then MLAs filed any complaint regarding the incident and the probe was conducted by a CB-CID DySP based on a letter from the Legislative secretary.

On October 13, 2021, the magisterial court dismissed the discharge pleas of the accused, saying the material before it discloses a grave suspicion that they have committed the offences and therefore, there were sufficient circumstances to frame charges against them.

The Assembly had witnessed unprecedented scenes on March 13, 2015 as the LDF members, then in the opposition, tried to prevent Finance Minister K M Mani, who was facing charges in the bar bribery scam, from presenting the state budget.

Besides flinging the Speaker’s chair from the podium, electronic equipment like computers, keyboards and mikes on the desk of the presiding officer were also allegedly damaged by the then LDF members, causing a loss of Rs 2.20 lakh.

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