A group of local people on Tuesday foiled an alleged attempt of the Chief Minister’s former gunman Salim Raj to take a woman into his custody for mysterious reasons. The attempt came to the notice of the people at Karikkamkulam in the city around 3 p.m. and they quickly informed the local police after blocking him along with other six men.
Rijo Oachira, an accused in several economic offences cases reported from Kollam district, was also part of the gang that tried to pick the woman. He had been evading the police for a long time.
The gang, including Salim Raj and Rijo, who were later arrested in connection with the case, were charged under Sections 365 (punishment for abduction), 341 (punishment for wrongful restraint), 323 (punishment for voluntarily causing hurt), and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code. The accused were later produced before the Judicial First Class Magistrate Court and remanded in judicial custody for 14 days. According to eyewitness accounts, Salim Raj and his gang allegedly tried to force the woman into a car they travelled in. The people blocked the vehicle and insisted that they would release him only in police custody.
Meanwhile, Salim Raj claimed that the woman was one of his relatives and had been absconding for the past few months. “We were trying to take her home for settling a property dispute,” he told the police officers who reached the spot from the Chevayur station. The police took him to the station for questioning. Local people camped at the location till he was moved to the police station. They alleged that there were secret motives behind the visit of Salim Raj and it should be probed in detail. The case is investigated by Chevayur Circle Inspector Prakashan P. Padannayil.