'Margamkali' judge, accused of taking bribe, found dead; pleads innocence in suicide note

P N Shaji. Photo: Special arrangement

A competition judge at the recent Kerala University Arts Fest, who had been taken into custody on an allegation of taking bribe to influence results, was found dead here on Wednesday. The police suspect a case of suicide as a note was found by the side of the deceased.

In his alleged suicide note, P N Shaji, who was a judge at the Margamkali competition, wrote that he did not take a bribe and only gave marks to those who deserved it. "My mother knows I will not do anything wrong. Let God save those who plotted this," Shaji's note read, said Manorama News.

Shaji and three other judges were accused of taking bribes from middlemen. They were arrested and later let off. However, the Cantonment Police had asked Shaji and the others to appear for another round of questioning on Thursday.

The Arts Fest had run into controversy over multiple complaints of alleged irregularities in results. University Vice Chancellor Mohanan Kunnummal later suspended the festival.

According to reports, the organisers suspected the judges were in contact with middlemen, who offered bribes.

During the competition, the organisers took custody of the mobile phones of the judges. They alleged that Shaji was repeatedly contacted by middlemen when the event was going on. The organisers reportedly questioned Shaji and it is also alleged that they assaulted him.

(Suicide is not the solution to any problem. Seek the assistance of a mental health specialist, if needed. Try to overcome the problem. Helpline numbers - 1056, 0471- 2552056)

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