Salim Raj, former gunman of Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, and six others who had been arrested here on the charge of kidnapping on Thursday approached the Principal District and Sessions Court here seeking bail.

Judge V. Bhaskaran posted to September 23 for considering their bail applications.

Previously, the Judicial First Class Magistrate Court had rejected their bail pleas. All the accused, including Riju, 28, Irshad Basheer, 24, Siddique, 37, Sattar, 37, Shamnad, 29, and Junaid, 32, are now remanded at the special sub-jail in the city.

The bail applications were moved through M. Shahir Singh, their counsel. Salim Raj, 42, and his gang were arrested on the charge of manhandling and attempting to abduct Prasannan on the Karikkamkulam- Balussery road at 12.30 p.m. on September 10.

Prasannan and Rasheeda Beevi, who were travelling in a car, were chased by the gang in a multi-utility vehicle near the Karikkamkulam junction. The intervention of the local people foiled the alleged attempt to kidnap the complainant and the woman.

The Chevayur police, which registered the case, had charged the accused with Section 364 (kidnapping or abducting in order to murder), 143 (unlawful assembly), 144 (unlawful assembly armed with deadly weapons), and 506 (1) (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

The petitioners said in their bail applications that the investigators had foisted the case against them to protect the vested interest of some politicians and Salim Raj had been made a scapegoat in the politically motivated case.

Initially, the police had charged the accused under Section 365 (kidnapping or abducting with intent secretly and wrongfully to confine persons) of the IPC but this offence had been modified with a more serious offence (Section 364) to satisfy a political lobby, the petitioners said.

The accused also claimed that none of them had any criminal background. No weapons had been recovered from them. But the police had purposely registered the case for keeping them in jail for a longer period.

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