Says conspiracy hatched against its legislator

Janata Dal (Secular) has decided to throw its weight behind Jose Thettayil, MLA, against whom a sexual harassment case has been filed.

The party State president Mathew T. Thomas alleged that a conspiracy was hatched against its legislator. There was no question of the Mr. Thettayil stepping down, he said.

The party would stand by the legislator who had a political legacy spanning over four decades, he said.

In 2009, a faction led by M.P. Veerandrakumar walked out of the party during the last Parliament election to form Socialist Janatha (Democratic). While the split-away faction aligned with the Congress-led United Democratic Front, the faction led by Mr. Thomas stuck by the Left Democratic Front.

Mr Thomas defended the decision not to ask for the resignation of the legislator saying the post of the legislator did not carry any executive powers.

There was no precedent in Kerala which called for the resignation of the legislator. There were a few members in the UDF who were continuing as legislators even after resigning as Ministers, he said.

Mr. Thomas chose not to name any one regarding the “conspiracy,” but said he suspected the involvement of the faction that splintered from the JD(S).

He fired at the ruling regime too with his conspiracy theory. “How could one explain the speedy action in the case, including the registration of the criminal case against the MLA and assigning the charge of investigation to an officer within one hour of receiving the complaint,” said Mr. Thomas.

“The party will fully defend the legislator and will toe the line of the legislator in the case. Mr. Thettayil had been in politics for the past 40 years and no such allegations were ever raised against him,” he said.

C.K. Nanu, another legislator of the JD(S), too believes there was something fishy in the case. The case hatched against Mr. Thettayil is not like any other case of sexual harassment. It will not be ideal to make individual comments in the issue. Let the party discuss and finalise its views, he said.

Mr. Thettayil remained untraceable throughout the day. Repeated attempts to contact the legislator failed.

M.P. Veerendrakumar, who is heading the Socialist Janatha (Democratic) Kerala unit refused to comment on the issue.

Police investigation

The Crime Branch will take over the investigation of the case from Tuesday. A special investigation team will be constituted for investigating the case. Ajeetha Beegum Sultan, the Superintendent of Police, Internal Investigation Team, will directly supervise the investigation. The Special Investigation Team was being constituted following a direction from the Director Genera of Police, Ms. Sultana said.

Local police on Monday collected the visitors’ register and vehicle register from the flat of the complainant in the case. Experts from the forensic unit will collect the hard disc of the computer to which the CCTV cameras of the apartment complex were connected, officials said.

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