The Rameshwaram Cafe blast | On what basis did you claim that bombers were trained in Tamil Nadu? Madras High Court judge asks Union Minister Shobha Karandlaje

The query was raised during the hearing of a petition filed by the Minister to quash a First Information Report registered against her by Madurai city cyber crime police

Published - July 10, 2024 09:12 pm IST - CHENNAI

Union Minister and BJP MP Shobha Karandlaje

Union Minister and BJP MP Shobha Karandlaje

The Madras High Court on Wednesday questioned the basis on which Union Minister of State for Labour and Employment Shobha Karandlaje on March 19 claimed that the bombers involved in the Rameshwararm Cafe blast at Bengaluru, on March 1, had been trained in Tamil Nadu.

Justice G. Jayachandran raised the query during the hearing of a petition filed by the Minister to quash a First Information Report (FIR) registered against her by the Madurai city cyber crime police on the basis of a complaint lodged by a local resident C. Thiagarajan on March 20.

The FIR quash petition was filed in the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court but got transferred to the principal seat of the High Court in Chennai and listed before Justice Jayachandran since he holds the portfolio for cases booked against sitting as well as former legislators.

In her petition, the Minister denied the charge of having pitted Kannadigas against the Tamils by claiming that the bombers were trained in Tamil Nadu. She said it was a figment of the complainant’s imagination though her intention was only to raise concerns about the state of internal security in Tamil Nadu.

She also claimed to have apologised to the people of Tamil Nadu and retracted the comments made to the media by tweeting through her X handle on March 19 itself. “Putting the criminal law in motion, despite the clarification, is ex-facie illegal,” the Minister contended.

On the other hand, Government Advocate (criminal side) K.M.D. Muhilan requested the court to watch a video clip of the interview given by the Minister, to the media, in order to assess the tone and tenor in which she had claimed that “people come from Tamil Nadu, get trained there and plant bombs here (in Karnataka).”

He said there was no official statement from the National Investigation Agency (NIA), which was probing the Rameshwaram Cafe blast, about the accused involved in the offence. Yet, the Union Minister had gone about making public statements intended at promoting enmity between two groups of people.

When the petitioner’s counsel objected to the playing of the video clip before the court, the Government Advocate requested time for the appearance of Advocate General P.S. Raman on behalf of the prosecution. The judge accepted his request and adjourned the FIR quash petition to Friday for further hearing.

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