Kerala

Government’s Response to the Shocking Riaz Maulavi Murder Case Verdict

Chief Minister Vows Action, Promises Appeal Amidst Acquittal Controversy

Kozhikode: Addressing a press conference, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan expressed his dismay over the recent acquittal of the three accused in the Riaz Maulavi murder case. He stated, “Something should not have happened in this case. The verdict was very shocking.”

The Chief Minister assured the government would take all necessary steps to address the situation. He pointed out the diligent efforts made by the authorities from the outset. He stated, “The Bekal police registered a case in the incident and arrested the three accused before the completion of 96 hours. They spent seven years as undertrial prisoners. This was due to the strong intervention of the police.”

Pinaray Vijayan highlighted the government’s proactive stance: opposing the bail application and appointing a criminal lawyer based on the victim’s wife’s request. The government has permitted the addition of a charge related to fostering religious rivalry. The investigation into the case was transparent. There was no complaint at any stage.”

Background of the Case

On March 20, 2017, Riaz Maulavi, a native of Kotak and a madrasa teacher at Old Churi Church in Kasaragod, was killed in a residence adjacent to the Old Juma Masjid. The Baikal Coastal Circle Inspector initially investigated the case, registering an FIR at the Kasaragod police station. Later that day, the investigation was handed over to a Special Investigation Team led by Dr A. Srinivasan IPS, the then Kannur Crime Branch SP.

The Special Investigation Team swiftly arrested the three accused, Ajesh alias Appu (27), Nithinkumar alias Nithin (26), and Akhilesh alias Akhilu (32), within 96 hours of the incident. Despite multiple bail attempts, the accused remained in judicial custody for seven years due to the government’s strict stance.

Robust Prosecution Efforts

The investigation team filed the charge sheet on the 85th day. Responding to a written request from Riaz Maulavi’s wife, the government appointed senior advocate Adv. Ashoka as a Special Prosecutor on June 14, 2017. Additionally, the government granted permission to add Section 153A (promoting enmity between different groups) to the charge sheet on June 15, 2017, recognizing the offence of inciting religious rivalry.

During the trial, the prosecution produced 97 witnesses and 375 documents in court. The Special Prosecutor presented 87 circumstantial evidence and 124 High Court orders. Unfortunately, Special Prosecutor Ashokan passed away on May 1, 2023. Riaz Maulavi’s wife’s application led to the appointment of Adv. T Shajith, the Special Public Prosecutor, is Ashokan’s colleague from Kozhikode.

The investigation team and prosecution maintained transparency and honesty throughout the process, with no complaints raised. Even after the verdict, Riaz Maulvi’s family acknowledged the government’s vigilance, sincerity, and dedication in the case.

Commitment to Justice

Despite the overwhelming evidence, scientific test results, and testimony, the verdict did not uphold the prosecution’s findings, causing societal shock. Vijayan affirmed the government’s commitment to ensuring that the killers of Riaz Maulavi receive the punishment they deserve. “All possibilities of law will be sought for that. Steps have been started for that. The practice of killing people as part of religious hatred must be stopped at any cost. Here, there have been all interventions and measures from the side of the government.”

The Chief Minister emphasized the charges against the accused under Section 153A of the Indian Penal Code regarding the non-imposition of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). He added that the trial court would decide whether to grant the High Court’s request to impose UAPA. This calls into doubt the validity of the critique that UAPA proponents are currently making.

Rohit Sharma

Rohit Sharma is a seasoned Political Journalist with a deep passion for Indian Politics. With over a decade of experience in the field, he has established himself as a trusted… More »

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