Saji Cheriyan's controversial speech under police scrutiny

Saji Cherian's controversial speech under police scrutiny; govt decision likely today
Saji Cheriyan

Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala Police has initiated a preliminary investigation into the controversial remarks on the Constitution of India made by Saji Cheriyan, the state's Minister for Fisheries, Culture and Youth Affairs.

Complaints regarding Cheriyan's speech received by the state police chief and the superintendent of police, Pathanamthitta, have been passed on to T Rajappan Ravuther, the deputy superintendent of police (DySP), Thiruvalla.

The minister had delivered the controversial speech while addressing a meeting organised by his party CPM at Mallappally, near Thiruvalla, in Pathanamthitta district.

Police to seek legal opinion

"We will examine the minister's speech in detail and seek legal opinion. A decision on registering a case against the minister will be taken only later," said the DySP.

Cheriyan had alleged in his speech that the Indian Constitution provides opportunities to exploit and loot the maximum number of common people. Soon after the news regarding the speech became viral, Kerala Governor Arif Mohammad Khan sought an explanation from Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on the comments by the minister, who had taken an oath to defend the Constitution.

Cheriyan subsequently clarified to the chief minister as well as before the State Assembly that he had, in fact, criticized the administrative system prevalent in India and not the Constitution. Cheriyan also issued an apology over his comments.

Opposition may move court

Meanwhile, the opposition parties in Kerala announced that they would approach the court if there is no action against Cheriyan. The state unit of the Congress submitted a memorandum to the Governor demanding the ouster of Cheriyan from the ministry for violating his oath. The United Democratic Front (UDF) and BJP also approached the Governor with the same demand.

Official response likely today

At the same time, the state leadership of CPM is yet to respond officially to the developments. In fact, the party has not held any formal discussions on the matter so far. However, a meeting of the available secretariat of CPM will take place on Wednesday, followed by a Cabinet meeting in the evening, both of which will be attended by Cheriyan. The official stand of the party as well as the government is expected later in the day.

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