Kerala

Cong. to weaponise proof tampering case against Antony Raju

Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) seemed poised to weaponise the narcotic evidence tampering case pending “inexplicably” against Transport Minister Antony Raju since 2006.

Leader of the Opposition V.D. Satheesan said Mr. Raju had lost the right to continue in office. The UDF would raise the “illegality” of Mr. Raju’s continuation in office in the High Court. It would also argue for a speedy trial.

It appeared that UDF was laser focussed on spotlighting Mr. Raju’s case as a riposte to the police arrest of Youth Congress leader K.S. Sabarinadhan, former MLA, on the charge of plotting the IndiGo in-flight protest against Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

The case

The prosecution case was that Mr. Raju had in 1990 aided an Australian national evade the law by ruining evidence in a narcotic smuggling case.

Emigration officers, working on deputation from the State police, had arrested the foreigner for smuggling hashish in his innerwear.

The police had submitted the apparel as a material object in the case. The trial court convicted the suspect of drug smuggling. However, he earned an acquittal in the High Court and left the country.

The prosecution case was that Mr. Raju, a lawyer practising at the time in the Thiruvananthapuram district court, had sought the release of the personal items of the foreigner after his conviction.

Later, he allegedly returned the apparel stating that it was material evidence in the drug case. When the foreigner appealed against the sentence, his counsel argued in the High Court that the inner wear would not fit the suspect, and the charge against him was untenable.

Case in Australia

The case resurfaced in 2005 when the Victoria Police (Australia) arrested the foreigner on drug charges. Later, they reported to Interpol that a stool pigeon had snitched on the drug case accused.

The suspect had boasted he had paid off a lawyer to tamper with the evidence in the case. The Interpol referred the topic to the Kerala police via the CBI.

Subsequently, the State police arraigned Mr. Raju as the prime accused in the case in 2006. Consequently, the LDF denied him a seat in the then Assembly elections.

Moreover, Mr. Satheesan said the High Court had sought a report on the protracted pendency of the case and why the lower court had not committed it for trial.

Mr. Raju has dismissed the Opposition's charge. He said he was out on bail in the case. Facing trial in the case did not entail he was guilty.


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Printable version | Jul 19, 2022 7:36:52 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/cong-to-weaponise-proof-tampering-case-against-antony-raju/article65658639.ece