KERALA

Marad commission summons Kunhalikutty

KOZHIKODE, FEB. 26. The Marad Judicial Inquiry Commission has issued summons to examine the Industries Minister, P.K. Kunhalikutty, on March 12 in connection with its probe into the May 2 violence at Marad.

At a sitting here today, the Commission, Thomas P. Joseph, issued summons to examine the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) leader based on a petition filed by the VHP's counsel, E.K. Santhosh. Summons have also been issued to examine the IUML Kozhikode district treasurer and chairman of Calicut Development Authority (CDA), M.C. Mayin Haji, on March 4.

Earlier in the day, while deposing before the Commission, the Mathrubhumi News Editor, N.P. Rajendran, alleged that Mr. Kunhalikutty had torpedoed the demand for a CBI probe into the May 2 violence because he feared that the CBI sleuths would arrest him and other IUML leaders during its probe into the incident. Mr. Rajendran, who is also the Calicut Press Club president, alleged that Mr. Kunhalikutty had held parleys with the Calicut Press Club delegation in a separate room during the peace talks at the Chief Minister's residence in Thiruvananthapuram on August 12. "Mr. Kunhalikutty told them that the IUML was against a CBI probe," he said, adding that the Public Works Minister, M.K. Muneer, was also present at the meeting.

Mr. Kunhalikutty had then asked: "Can the CBI agency be trusted? Is there any guarantee that the CBI will not send me and Panakkad Mohammedali Shihab Thangal to jail?" Mr. Rajendran said that Mr. Kunhalikutty's statement had astonished him because earlier in the day at his official residence, he had not given any hint on the stand of IUML. Mr. Kunhalikutty had only said that if the case was handed over to the CBI it would benefit the accused. This was also the suggestion of the Chief Minister, he said.

Prior to the meeting in Thiruvananthapuram, the IUML State president, Shihab Thangal, Mr. Muneer and the Education Minister, Nalakath Soopy, had said that the IUML was not opposed to a CBI probe. The Chief Minister also said that the suggestion for a CBI probe could be rejected by the Cabinet, Mr. Rajendran said.

Mr. Kunhalikutty had also told them that those negotiating between two parties should not approve the demand of one side, he alleged. The single-point secret agenda of Mr. Kunhalikutty to reject the demand for a CBI probe finally met with success at the meeting, he alleged. To escape from the clutches of the CBI, the displaced Muslim families were left to their fate at the relief camps for a long period, he said. However, the credit should go to the Chief Minister for ensuring that the grave issue did not lead to any explosive situation in Marad, he said.

Had the IUML said earlier that it was against a CBI inquiry, the Press Club delegation would not have gone for peace talks to Thiruvananthapuram, he said.

Orders have been issued to examine the New Indian Express Kozhikode Chief Reporter, M.P. Prasanth, and K. Noufal, a native of Marad on March 4.