Kerala Left front hits back at opposition with Kozhikode sex case

Saturday, January 29, 2011

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM - With assembly elections around the corner, Kerala’s Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M)-led government appears to have grabbed the sensational Kozhikode ice cream parlour sex scandal case as a possible election issue.

The case of sexual abuse on a minor girl, which involved former state industry minister and Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) leader P.K. Kunhalikutty, was closed by the courts in 2006.

The alleged sex racket worked with an ice cream parlour in Kozhikode as its base, giving the scandal its name.

Now it is back in the headlines and the CPI-M is not letting the opportunity go.

The state home minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said Saturday that the government is looking into the various aspects of the case to see if a re-investigation can be done.

The case became the most talked about issue in the media over the last two days after Kunhalikutty, general secretary of the Congress ally IUML, engaged in a war of words Friday with his relative K.A. Rauf (their wives are sisters) over the scandal.

The case involved the girl Regina, who alleged that she was sexually exploited by the then minister in the early 1990s.

Kunhalikutty, a witness in the case, had to step down as minister in January 2005 following an opposition onslaught and a series of media reports after Regina went on repeating what happened to her.

Rauf Friday alleged that Kunhalikutty was able to walk scot free in the case by influencing the judiciary and the witnesses and that he (Rauf) has documentary evidence to prove this.

A few hours before Rauf’s disclosure, Kunhalikutty had revealed that he faced a threat on his life from Rauf.

The standoff between the two relatives appeared to have come as a club to hit back at the Congress-led opposition, which has been breathing down the neck of the Left government and state Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan.

The minister said Saturday that the disclosures made by Rauf is of a serious nature.

“In the light of the seriousness of the disclosure, we are now looking into the various aspects to see if a re-investigation can be done in the controversial case,” said Balakrishnan.

Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan has already said if need be, a re-investigation can be done.

Communist Party of India (CPI) state secretary C.K. Chandrappan said Saturday that there should be no let down and the case should be re-opened.

“The disclosures are of a criminal nature and hence it should be investigated again,” said Chandrappan.

But state Congress president Ramesh Chennithala said that he sees a conspiracy behind this issue resurfacing now.

“This is a concerted effort to tarnish the image of the Indian Union Muslim League and this is not going to affect the United Democratic Front in any manner,” said Chennithala Saturday.

Leader of opposition Oommen Chandy, who is on his statewide yatra (march) said that the statement made by Rauf does not contain anything new.

“You should note that the entire investigation in this case took place when CPI-M leader E.K. Nayanar was the chief minister. The courts also have closed this case,” said Chandy.

Meanwhile the then director general of prosecution Kallada Sukumaran reacted by saying that the legal advice was given that Kunhalikutty can be prosecuted.

“People like the then political secretary to Nayanar, P. Sasi, and few others did not like that advice. There is a possibility even now for a re-investigation,” said Sukumaran.

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