V.S. Palaniappan

Case relating to clash with security personnel outside prison

Coimbatore: Soofiya Maudany, wife of Kerala based People’s Democratic Party (PDP) leader Abdul Nasir Maudany, has been acquitted in a case relating to a clash with security personnel outside the Coimbatore Central Prison on December 26, 2002.

The charge was that Soofiya, along with Naushad, visited the prison to meet her husband (then, an undertrial in the Coimbatore serial blasts case) and, while coming out, behaved in an “unruly manner” with police personnel who were frisking visitors.

The prosecution alleged that Soofiya was found in possession of four cellular phones and three Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) cards. “When questioned, the duo behaved in a highhanded manner with the security personnel led by a woman sub-inspector of police and even waved slippers at them.”

Based on a complaint from the Sub-Inspector, the police registered a case against Soofiya and Naushad. Naushad admitted to the offence and was released after his 11 months’ detention in prison was set off against the conviction.

The charge against Soofiya was split into a separate case and a case under sections 353 (preventing a government servant from discharging duty), 354 (use of criminal force or assault with an intent to outrage the modesty of a woman) read with section 34 (acting for the purpose of a common intention).

Eleven witnesses were cited by the prosecution most of whom were police personnel and prison security staff.

Defence claim

Bhavani B. Mohan, who appeared for Soofiya, said that admission of offence by a co-accused would not be binding on the remaining accused. He questioned the inordinate delay in preferring a complaint against the accused. Citing material objects one to seven i.e., the cellular phones and SIM cards, counsel said if at all there had been seizure of banned items, the accused should have been immediately arrested.

The defence concluded that the prosecution had “fabricated a case,” with an intention to create a ground against Abdul Nasir Maudany, whose bail applications were coming up for hearing in the High Court and the Supreme Court at that time.