Accusation of sabotaging ice cream parlour case
The Opposition leader V.S. Achuthanandan’s plea for a CBI inquiry into alleged attempts at sabotaging the ice cream parlour sexual abuse case was dismissed by the High Court of Kerala on Friday.
Dismissing the petition, a Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice K. Vinod Chandran observed that the magistrate considering the final report had the authority to order further investigations. If the bench intervenes in the process at this stage, it would upset the hierarchy of judicial forums as prescribed under the Code of Criminal Procedure, it said.
Mr. Achuthanandan had contended that State Minister P.K. Kunjalikutty and his brother-in-law K.A. Rauf had reportedly undermined the investigation in the case as well as the trial by influencing the witnesses and the judiciary. The police had registered a case following a press conference by Mr. Rauf in which he alleged that Mr. Kunjalikutty had asked several key witnesses to turn hostile after offering them pecuniary benefits, he contended.
The Bench said that it was not closing the scope for a CBI probe. As the final report was pending before the magistrate court, any aggrieved person with locus standi could always point out any lacunae in the investigation and seek appropriate relief, including a direction for further investigations, it said.
The court observed that if the disclosures made by Mr Rauf were true, it required serious introspection and the guilty should be booked. Equally, if it would eventually reveal that the accusations or allegations were false, serious action would have to be initiated against those who made such accusations.
Opposing the plea of the Opposition Leader, Advocate General K.P. Dhandapani submitted that the petitioner was attempting to persuade the High Court to usurp the jurisdiction of the magistrate court. It was during the tenure of the petitioner as the Chief Minister that a probe was ordered into the allegations of Mr. Rauf and a Special Investigation Team was constituted, he stated. The Bench pointed out that it will have to go through the materials in the case diary and the First Information Report of the case if it was to consider the plea for a fresh probe. It would amount to usurping the power of the magistrate and may result in pre-empting the competent court from exercising its jurisdiction, which the Supreme Court had discouraged, it said.
The court said that the allegations were very serious in nature. If they are true, the very foundation of the judicial system would be shaken besides putting the entire legal fraternity in a very dark shade, it said.
Mr. Rauf had claimed that he had engineered the entire operation and the witnesses turned hostile lured by money. He had also stated that the exercise was carried out to protect Mr. Kunjalikutty.