Staff Reporter

Jeep driver arrested; Thiruvanchoor says incident is `stage-managed'

PATHANAMTHITTA: In a bizarre incident in the wee hours of Thursday, the Adoor police took into custody a vehicle carrying pamphlets that allegedly contained `derogatory' statements against a candidate in the Adoor Assembly constituency.

The incident occurred around 1 a.m. when the vehicle carrying the controversial pamphlets was blocked by a group of LDF activists near the High School junction in Adoor. The agitated activists smashed the windowpanes of the jeep and they wanted the District Election Authority to inspect the pamphlets the same night itself.

District Collector B. Ashok and Revenue Divisional Officer B. Mohanan reached the spot and found that the printed materials did not contain the name and address of its printer and publisher.

The Collector told The Hindu that the printed materials were seized as it was prima facie violation of the relevant provisions in the People's Representation Act. The police have taken the vehicle and its driver, Reji, into custody.

According to the police, the jeep driver confided that certain local UDF leaders had hired his vehicle for transporting the printed materials on Wednesday night. The police registered a case against 10 persons, including the CPI leader Jayan for attacking the jeep and its driver.

The printed materials were the reproduction of a column that appeared in a vernacular daily in 2001.

Meanwhile, the LDF leaders strongly condemned the incident alleging that it was a cheap political campaign unleashed by the UDF candidate and Water Resources Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan against his LDF rival D.K. John of the Kerala Congress (J).

The LDF leaders alleged that the pamphlets were aimed at maligning the character of Prof. John.

They said the jeep driver had already confessed to the police that the controversial pamphlets were being distributed in certain parts of the constituency by the UDF workers.

Meanwhile, Mr. Radhakrishnan denied of having any role in the incident.

He said the issue was nothing but `stage-managed' by the LDF in its desperation in the last lap of the poll campaign.