Kochi: The Kerala High Court on Monday upheld a special court order cancelling bail of 11 accused in the case of killing of a tribal man in Palakkad district for allegedly stealing food articles in 2018, observing that they violated the bail conditions.
Madhu from Attappady was killed after he was caught, tied and thrashed by a group of local people alleging theft on February 22, 2018.
"The explanation offered by accused Nos 2 to 7, 9, 10, 12, 15 and 16 is vague in nature and not convincing. There is nothing on record to substantiate the same. There is overwhelming evidence to show that they have contacted the witnesses over phone on several occasions violating the bail conditions and thereby misused the privilege of bail granted to them," Justice Kauser Edappagath said in the order.
The High Court, however, set aside the order of the special court for trial of offences under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act cancelling bail of accused No. 11, observing that there was no sufficient evidence against him to suggest that he in any way tampered with the witnesses or influenced them.
Last month, the special court for trial of offences under the SC/ST Act in Mannarkkad had ordered the cancellation of the bail of 12 accused, accepting the prosecution's argument that under their influence, several witnesses had turned hostile during the ongoing trial.
The special court had said on the evaluation of the entire materials brought before it by the prosecution, it came to the conclusion that the accused have influenced the witnesses and attempted to challenge, rather dictate the whole criminal administrative system of the country.
In its order, the High Court said: "Taking into account all these circumstances and by applying the test of balance of probabilities, it is evident that the accused Nos 2 to 7, 9, 10, 12, 15 and 16 have misused the privilege of bail granted to them and won over the witnesses."
"In these circumstances, the court below (the special court) was absolutely justified in cancelling their bail," the order said.
(With inputs from PTI)