Excise officials face probe after video of arrested goes viral

Bouquets for excise officials in Mattancherry for taking cognisance of an offence and acting promptly by arresting the accused turned into brickbats in a matter of days after the antics of the accused in the excise office went viral on social media.

The matter came to the notice of the excise minister and top echelons of the department following which a probe by a Superintendent of excise vigilance was ordered. The probe is likely to get underway on Friday.

Excise officials had on Tuesday arrested Nevin Francis Augustine aka Mattancherry Martin, 34, of Fort Kochi after a video that showed him encouraging a teenage girl to smoke ganja went viral on social media. In the video, the accused could be seen actively encouraging the girl to use ganja, while he himself was seen smoking. Officials arrested him from his home and also recovered two grams of ganja.

Things changed for the worse once he was taken to the excise office. Rather than being cowed down by his situation, the accused, allegedly on a high according to officials, went ballistic and started giving a sermon on the benefits of ganja accompanied by wide gesticulations. Subsequently, a local media footage of his antics went viral on social media.

According to excise sources in the district, the accused had to be handled tactfully since there was the risk of him turning violent. “So, we were a bit accommodative of his antics so as to complete the formalities without any hiccups but were misunderstood owing to the video leakage,” they said.

Though a bailable offence, the accused remains in judicial custody since no one had turned up to release him on bail.

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Printable version | Sep 19, 2022 11:22:30 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/excise-officials-face-probe-after-video-of-arrested-goes-viral/article65759364.ece