Inspiring story of convict turning into a lawyer proves wrong; faces probe for forging certificates

The matter is being investigated by the Ponkunnam police based on a complaint filed by the Kanjirappally Bar Association. Photo: Manorama

Kottayam: It was ought to be an inspiring story of a convict turning into a lawyer and practising in the same court that punished him in a criminal case. But, after one-and-a-half years of “practice”, he is facing a probe for submitting forged documents to make the “amazing turnaround”.

Afzal Khaneefa from Ponkunnam is the one at the centre of the controversy. He was practising as a lawyer in Kanjirappally First Class Magistrate Court, which had slapped a fine of Rs 2,000 and awarded confinement till the court disbursed for the day, back in 2017 after finding him guilty of selling pornographic content in pen drives and CDs.

Afzal, who was running an electronics shop near the Ponkunnam private bus stand then, closed down the institute following the incident and started practising as an advocate three years later. He even obtained the mandatory advocate sanad, issued by the Bar Council of India, to don the lawyer’s coat.

However, now charges have emerged that Afal had failed in the Pre-degree examinations and that the degree and the LLB certificates submitted by him to obtain the ‘advocate sanad’ were fake.

The matter is being investigated by the Ponkunnam police based on a complaint filed by the Kanjirappally Bar Association. The shocking “malpractice” was finally revealed during the certificate examination when he applied for the Bar Association membership. The Kerala Bar Council cancelled his ‘advocate sanad’ following the development.

Earlier, Afzal submitted mark lists and the certificate, claiming he had been a regular student and successfully completed the six-semester LLB course from the Bhopal RKDF (Ram Krishna Dharmarth Foundation) University during the period from December 2015 to June 2018. He also presented another certificate, that of a Business Administration degree certificate from the Salem Periyar University.

In their complaints, Bar Association President Joby Thomas and Joint Secretary Sayed Ali Khan claimed the Bar Council awarded the ‘advocate sanad’ without verifying the authenticity of the documents.

Though the same was brought to the notice of the Bar Council a year earlier, Afzal’s ‘advocate sanad’ was cancelled only a month ago. Even then, the Council failed to register a complaint with the police, the Association alleged.

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