An apparently distressed Gulf returnee attempted to disrupt a meeting attended by Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan at Co-bank Towers here on Thursday evening.

Manoharan, a native of Kollam district and currently a city resident, shouted slogans as Mr. Achuthanandan stepped on stage to inaugurate the State government-sponsored membership drive for setting up a Non-Resident Keralite Welfare Fund.

The police immediately detained Manoharan and removed him from the venue. Later, Manoharan told the police that he was incarcerated for eight months in a debtor's jail in the Gulf after a relative of his “cheated” him of Rs.1.2 crore. He lost his livelihood and was being plagued by litigations.

Manoharan told the police that he gave several complaints to the Non-Resident Keralite Affairs Department, but in vain. He returned to Kerala early this year and is currently living in Pettah.

Bid to draw attention

He said he raised slogans at the public meeting hoping to draw the Chief Minister's attention to his plight.

The police said Manoharan did not pose a physical threat to the Chief Minister at any point of time. He shouted slogans standing near one of the entrances to the hall and was well away from the stage where the the Chief Minister was seated.

The police questioned Manoharan in detail at the Museum police station.

Circle Inspector J.K. Dinil said the 50-year-old man was booked under section 2 of the Kerala Prevention of Disturbance to Public Meeting Act.