Govt circumvents HC order in divine centre case

via published on May 26, 2006

KOZHIKODE: The order from the Home Department announcing the constitution of a special team of police to probe into the activities at a divine retreat centre at Thrissur has raised many an eyebrow.

The High Court had asked the government to form a special team to make a comprehensive probe into the activities at the retreat centre, which includes mysterious deaths, Foreign Exchange Maintenance Act (FEMA) violations and connections, some IPS and IAS officers had with the centre.

The court had also asked the team to invoke the relevant provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act during the investigation.

But oddly, the government order declaring the formation of the team is confined only to the rape case alone.

According to the order, the team is constituted to probe into the rape case only. The order is silent on other issues mentioned in the High Court order and no explanation is given as to why other issues are kept out of the purview of the probe.

The team, led by Inspector General of Police Vinson M. Paul, who is now the managing director of the Kerala Police Housing and Construction Corporation Limited, has begun preliminary probes into the case. Superintendent of Police M. Mohajir is assisting the IG in the investigations.

The issue of the rape came to light when the woman lodged a complaint with the District and Sessions Judge Thomas P. Joseph while he visited the central jail last year. The woman was remanded in judicial custody after she was arrested in a theft case.

The District Judge asked the Judicial First Class Magistrate to make an enquiry into the allegations. She reportedly detailed the magistrate how one person with the divine centre sexually exploited her.

The enquiry report was then forwarded to the judicial authorities in Thrissur as the incident had happened in the district. It was then handed over to the police for further investigation.

The police registered the case and started investigation. Meanwhile, the woman gave birth to a child inside the jail.

In the meantime, Justice K. Padmanabhan Nair passed an order around three months ago that a special team of the police should investigate into all the allegations raised against the retreat centre.

The woman is now lodged at a short-stay home in Thrissur with round-the-clock police protection after she was acquitted in the theft case. She has requested for police protection, as she feared threat to her life following her revelation.

The woman, hailing from Iritty in Kannur district, had spent some years with the retreat centre. According to her, she was raped while she was staying at the centre.

The police is now in the process of going through the statements recorded by the special team during their investigation. Sources said the team will consider a DNA test at a later stage after conducting preliminary investigation.

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