Kerala in-flight protest case: Congress leader Sabarinadhan arrested

Police accuses the former MLA of hatching a conspiracy
Kerala in-flight protest case: Congress leader Sabarinadhan arrested
Kerala in-flight protest case: Congress leader Sabarinadhan arrested

ITDC INDIA EPRESS/ITDC NEWS R The ongoing political row in Kerala over the in-flight protest staged by Youth Congress activists against Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan took a dramatic turn on Tuesday with the police probing the case arresting Congress leader K S Sabarinadhan, accusing him of hatching a conspiracy behind the action.

Alleging "high-level conspiracy" behind the police move, the Congress alleged that information about the arrest of Sabarinadhan was first revealed in a court here when it was considering his anticipatory bail plea.

Police, however, claimed that Sabarinadhan was summoned by the police probing the case at Valiyathura police station here in the morning for questioning and his arrest was recorded at 10.50 am.

An ex-MLA and son of late Congress leader G Karthikeyan, Sabarinadhan spoke to the media while being taken to the hospital for medical examination rejecting the police version regarding his arrest. He claimed that his arrest was recorded at 12.30 pm.

Condemning the arrest of Sabarinadhan, who is also the state vice president of the Youth Congress, Leader of Opposition in the State Assembly V D Satheesan said it was an "anti-democratic" action of the CPI(M)-led government. "It cannot be accepted," the Congress leader said.

"Sabarinadhan was arrested following a conspiracy at the highest level of the government. He has been charged with attempt to murder. He will be protected politically and legally," Satheesan told reporters.

The police had on Monday served notice to Sabarinadhan for questioning as part of investigation into the incident of in-flight protest staged by Youth Congress activists against the Chief Minister.

The action comes after a screenshot of a purported chat from a WhatsApp group went viral. In the chat, Sabarinadhan purportedly suggested members of the group to protest onboard the aircraft.

The Congress leader was arrested on a day the Opposition UDF targeted the Left government over its refusal to register a case against senior CPI(M) leader E P Jayarajan for allegedly manhandling the two Youth Congress activists who raised slogans against CM Vijayan in the aircraft.

Raising the issue in the Assembly, the opposition leader said, "Our children (Youth Congress activists) raised slogans but Jayarajan assaulted them."

Referring to the three-week flying ban imposed by private airliner IndiGo against Jayarajan, Satheesan said the airline understood this and gave a "higher punishment" to the CPI(M) leader.

The Chief Minister, in his reply, dismissed the Opposition demand seeking legal action against Jayarajan, who is also a former minister, and said the LDF convener was in fact protecting the CM from the attackers.

Vijayan said the probe indicates that Youth Congress workers including its top leadership conspired to create this incident.

Meanwhile, the Youth Congress said it will strengthen the protest against the Chief Minister over the issue.Shafi Parambil, MLA and state president of the Indian Youth Congress, told the media that the arrest shows that the Chief Minister was afraid of even a small protest.

"If an organisation decides to show black flag, how can it become a murder attempt or how is it a terror act. This shows that the Chief Minister is a coward. He is not even ready to face a black flag protest," Parambil said.

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