Plea for NIA probe into attack on Prof and ban on Popular Front Terrorist organisation

published on January 6, 2011

Plea for NIA probe into attack on Prof
VR Jayaraj | Kochi

– Daily Pioneer

The Kerala High Court on Thursday accepted a petition seeking NIA probe into the July 4 Taliban-model Islamist attack on Prof TJ Joseph even as the Kerala Police investigating the incident continued to suffer setbacks with two more key accused in the case getting bail.

Accepting the petition seeking an NIA investigation, filed by one Gireesh Babu of Kalamassery near Kochi, a High Court bench comprising Chief Justice J Chelameswar and Justice Thomas P Joseph ordered issuance of notice to the Central and State governments, the NIA.

The petitioner also sought a ban on the operations of the Islamist outfit, Popular Front of India (PFI), whose activists had attacked Prof Joseph, and its political wing, the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI). The court, which also sent notice to the PFI and SDPI, would take up the petition in the first week of next month.

The NIA had told the court that it had not taken over the probe into the attack as the Kerala Police’s FIR had not mentioned charges that came under the Central agency’s concern against the accused. The petitioner requested for NIA probe as the case had extremist character and the accused were charged with unlawful assembly for anti-national activities.

Popular Front activists had cut off the right hand of Joseph, a professor at the Catholic Church-run Newman College of Thodupuzha in Idukki district, in a dawn attack in Muvattupuzha on July 4 last for preparing a question paper that allegedly blasphemed Prophet Muhammad. The college management alter suspended him from service for the same reason.

In the meantime, the Kerala Police suffered yet another setback in the conduct of the case on Thursday as the Ernakulam Additional Sessions Court, Kochi granted bail to two of the accused. Those who were granted bail were sixth accused Shakeer and Kamaruddin, the seventh accused.

The Ernakulam District and Sessions Court, Kochi had on Monday had granted bail to Jaffer of Ermalalur and Ashraf of Kalady, first and second accused respectively in the case as the police had failed to file the chargesheet even after both of them had spent 180 days in judicial custody.

On Monday itself, the Supreme Court had upheld a September 17 order of the Kerala High Court granting bail to dentist Reneef, ninth accused in the case as the police had failed to prove his direct involvement. Several others in the list of 54 accused also had earned bail in the meantime, cashing in on the frailties of the police case.

The Kerala Police had the other day effectively admitted in the High Court that their investigation was still in the early stages as the weapons used for the attack on the professor and other related articles were yet to be recovered. They also told the court that they had not yet been able to arrest 27 of the accused including prime accused Nasser.

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