Businessman Shaji Purushothaman, who is wanted by the Chennai police in a case relating to a road accident at Egmore in that city in which a 13-year-old boy was killed, moved an anticipatory bail petition in the Kerala High Court on Tuesday.
Justice S.S. Satheeschandran of the High Court reserved his order on the petition after hearing the counsel for the petitioner and the Director General of Prosecutions T. Asaf Ali.
The police case against Shaji is that the car he was driving in a rash and negligent manner under the influence of liquor ran over and injured three children, one of whom, Muniraj, died later. Another child is in a critical condition.
Shaji, in his petition, contended that the Kerala High Court had the jurisdiction to pass orders on his bail plea and provided his address as Pattathanam, Kollam.
The Madras High Court, before which Shaji filed an anticipatory bail petition earlier, had dismissed the plea.
He alleged that the case had been registered against him due to the influence exerted on politicians by his business rivals. It was one Kumar who was driving the vehicle when the accident took place, and not he, Shaji said in his petition.
The Director General of Prosecutions, while opposing the petition, pointed out that the Madras High Court had dismissed his anticipatory bail petition. Besides, the Kerala High Court had no jurisdiction to entertain the petition as the offence had not been committed in Kerala. That apart, he was not a resident of the State. Therefore, his petition should not be entertained. The Madras High Court had passed the order rejecting his plea for anticipatory bail considering him as a resident of Chennai. Mr. Ali submitted that the offence committed by him was of very grave nature.
Business magnate scion absconding
A speeding Mercedes Benz ran over five persons at Pantheon Road in Chennai early in the morning of May 23, killing Muniraj, the 13-year-old son of an autorickshaw driver. Muniraj had been sleeping on the pavement near a bus shelter with his brother Vasu, 8, and cousin Subha, 10, when the car collided with a police patrol vehicle and swerved into the bus shelter.
In the car was Shaji Purushothaman, son of M.P. Purushothaman, founder of the Empee group. Shaji, 38, was allegedly drunk and driving the car at the time of the accident. Even as Shaji was charged with culpable homicide not amounting to murder, he went missing and the police issued a lookout notice for him. The police also searched the offices of the business group in the hunt for the absconding Empee group scion.
Police in the Purushothamans’ hometown of Kannur and other parts of Kerala were also alerted. It was reported that Shaji had fled to Malaysia to evade arrest and that he would surrender before the police on Monday.
The police are still on the lookout for Shaji, even as he filed an anticipatory bail plea before the Kerala High Court.
Shaji was the managing director of Empee Distilleries and held directorial positions in other concerns.