//All accused in Kerala sex scandal case acquitted

All accused in Kerala sex scandal case acquitted

Kozhikode: The Kozhikode Principal Sub-Judge and Assistant Sessions Judge on Thursday acquitted all the 16 accused in the Kozhikode ice-cream parlour sex scandal case.

Delivering the verdict in the eight – year-old case on Thursday, Judge L.R. Sathyan found no evidence against the accused. The accused in the case were C. Sreedevi, P.P. Abdulla, Edakkattu Khaderkutty, P.A. Abdulrehman, M.K. Abdul Khader, Kalarikkal Basheer, James Joseph alias Joemon, K.T. Joseph alias Ouseppachan, Baby Joseph alias Queens Baby, Cheriyarampath Muhammedkutty, T.P. Dasan, O. Rajagopal, A. Aravindakshan, Baijunath Karippaly, P.K. Rafi and N. Vijayan.

C. Sreedevi, first accused, was the owner of the ice-cream parlour. O. Rajagopal and T.P. Dasan were former Mayors of Kozhikode, N. Vijayan was a customs officer, Rafi a ministerial staff attached to the Customs Department and Aravindakshan is the driver of Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) State general secretary P.K. Kunhalikutty.

All other accused were businessmen.

In the 47-page order, the Court pointed out that the prosecution had "miserly failed in bringing home the guilt of the accused." On perusal of the evidence, it could be seen that the story narrated by the prosecution witnesses, the victims and other material evidence before the court was entirely different from the story put forward by the de facto complainant, K. Ajitha, president of Anweshi Women’s Counselling Centre.

The victims, K. Rejina, Madathil Bindu, Tharangathuvayil Rejula, Kottalkunnu Baby and Mekkothu Roselin, had "flatly denied" of having given a statement before the police that they had been subjected to sexual harassment or exploitation at the hands of the accused in connivance with Sreedevi.

They had also not identified the accused during the trial, which was held in camera following orders from the Kerala High Court.

In the court, the victims "uniformly and concurrently admitted" that they had never gone anywhere with any of the accused or others for illicit sexual relation at the instance of Sreedevi.

The court also observed that Ajitha had no direct knowledge of the fact and that she had not directly inquired into the matter

Hindu, Jan 13, 2006