Councillor’s statement that the former took bribe

Deputy Mayor P.T. Abdul Latheef has initiated criminal defamation proceedings against K. Muhammedali, an Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) councillor, for accusing him of taking a bribe of Rs.5 lakh from an advertisement agency.

The defamation suit was filed for a statement the latter had made during a Council meeting on October 3, 2013. Mr. Muhammedali ha stated that the Deputy Mayor and the Standing Committee (Works) chairperson M. Mohanan had accepted a bribe for allowing illegal advertisement hoardings in the city. Mr. Mohanan had been named a witness in the case.

Counsels P.V. Hari and M. Sushama filed the petition for Prof. Latheef in the Kozhikode Judicial First Class Magistrate Court – I.

Summons issued

It said the allegation had defamed him and caused mental agony.

Magistrate P.T. Prakashan issued summons to the accused and posted it for March 28, 2014.

Mr. Hari said the petition had been filed under Section 500 (punishment for defamation) of the Indian Penal Code.

Members of civic local bodies including the Corporation and Municipal Councils did not enjoy privileges as those enjoyed by elected representatives in Parliament and Legislature Assemblies, he said.

Council meeting

Mr. Muhammedali had alleged through a calling attention motion in the council meeting that the hoardings had been reinstalled at the Kelappaji Park, near English Church Junction, after the advertisement agency donated Rs.5 lakh to the party fund of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI (M)] through Prof. Latheef and Mr. Mohanan. The hoarding had been installed as part of the Blooming Calicut Project. But it had been removed after the licence expired. It had reappeared despite the council objecting to the decision, he had said.

The allegation had resulted in heated exchanges between the councillors of the ruling Left Democratic Front and the opposition United Democratic Front.

Subsequently, Mayor A.K. Premajam asked the Corporation Secretary to confirm whether there was any truth in the allegation raised by the IUML councillor.

The Secretary had replied that the file pertaining to the issue was unavailable as it was with the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau.

Mr. Hari said Mr. Muhammedali had not been able to produce any documents pertaining to the issue.

He had also written to the Mayor and the Secretary raising the same allegation. But, he could not submit any documents to support the charges, he added.

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