Police rule out case against actor Joju on Mahila Congress petition for want of evidence

“Prime facie, we have neither found any eye witness account or video footage to corroborate that complaint. Hence, we cannot register a case,” said C. H. Nagaraju, District Police Chief (Kochi City).

The city police have for the time being ruled out registering a case on a complaint by Mahila Congress accusing actor Joju of verbally and physically abusing its activists during the siege of the Edappally-Vytilla National Highway bypass organised by the Ernakulam District Congress Committee in protest against the rising fuel prices on Monday.

The protest had descended into chaos after the actor strongly objected the blockade, which didn’t go down well with the protesting activists, including women organised under Mahila Congress.

Prime facie, we have neither found any eye witness account or video footage to corroborate that complaint. Hence, we cannot register a case,” said C. H. Nagaraju, District Police Chief (Kochi City).

The Maradu police have registered two cases, both against the protestors, in connection with the sequence of incidents on Monday.

In one case registered in connection with the protest, 15 identifiable persons have been booked under IPC Sections 143 (unlawful assembly), 147 (rioting), 149 (offence committed by a member of an unlawful assembly in prosecution of common object) and 283 (Whoever, by doing any act, or by omitting to take order with any property in his possession or under his charge, causes danger, obstruction or injury to any person in any public way or public line of navigation) and relevant sections of Kerala Epidemic Disease Ordinance.

Another case has been registered for the alleged attack against actor Joju and vandalising his car invoking IPC Sections 142, 147, 149, 283, 341(wrongful restraint), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt) and 294(b) (sings, recites or utters any obscene song, ballad or words, in or near any public place)

“We have also booked them under the non-bailable provisions of the Kerala Prevention of Damage to Private Property and Payment of Compensation Act. We are still analysing the CCTV footage though it seems around 15-20 persons may be involved,” said Mr. Nagaraju.

Though police have already recorded the actor’s statement, he may be summoned for fresh statement and identification parade, if the probe so warrants.

Congress leader and former Kochi Mayor Tony Chammany who is among those accused of vandalising the actor’s car, shot down the accusations as blatant lies. “Neither I nor any party activists involved in the protest have done that. Many people had assembled at the site after the episode involving the actor and it is for the police to find out whether they were behind the act. Our demand has been to register a case against the actor for misbehaving with our women activists and police have so far shied away from it,” he said.

KPCC general secretary Deepthy Mary Varghese reiterated that the actor had indeed misbehaved with the women activists and that police had initially assured to register a case. “But they later backtracked and unfortunately the actor’s verbal and physical abuse of our activists seemed to have missed the camera eyes as well,” she said.

V. K. Minimol, district president of Mahila Congress, said that the organisation was waiting for the police response.

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