Kasaragod: Six months after filing an interim report, the Crime Branch (CB) on Wednesday filed a chargesheet with the Kasaragod Sessions Court against BJP state president K Surendran and five other party leaders in the Manjswaram election bribery case.
Surendran is the first accused in the case.
CB has filed three cases against the BJP leaders. They have been charged under Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 Section 3 (1) (l) (B); criminal intimidation (Section 506 (1) of the IPC), and wrongful confinement (Section 342 of IPC); and . Section 171 (B) of the IPC for election bribery.
The other persons indicted in the case are BJP district secretary Manikanda Rai; BJP's Manjeshwar constituency secretary Suresha Y; Surendran's confidant in Kozhikode Sunil Kumar alias Sunil Naik; BJP state committee member and senior lawyer Balakrishna Shetty; and party worker Logesh Londa.
The charge under the SC-ST Prevention of Atrocities Act is non-bailable and if convicted, the accused face a prison term of six months to five years.
The case pertains to the complaint filed by K Sundara, who said BJP leaders kidnapped him and gave him Rs 2.5 lakh and a mobile phone worth Rs 15,000 to withdraw his nomination papers from Manjeswaram Assembly election in May 2021.
Sundara, a Yakshagana artiste from a Scheduled Tribe community, was fielded by the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) because he garnered 467 votes in the 2016 Assembly election as an independent candidate.
In 2016, Surendran lost toMuslim League's P B Abdul Razak by 89 votes. Several BJP leaders blamed Sundara for the defeat and believed he might have got some BJP votes because of the similarity in names.
Though Sundara withdrew from the election in 2021, Surendran lost by a wider margin of 1,143 votes to IUML's A K M Ashraf.