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UDF stalls Kerala assembly over NRI businessman's suicide

twitter-logo PTI        Last Updated: June 24, 2019  | 16:58 IST

Thiruvananthapuram, Jun 24 (PTI) The opposition UDF Monday stalled proceedings in the Kerala assembly, demanding registration of a case against a local municipality chairperson for allegedly refusing to grant an NRI businessman the ownership certificate for an auditorium, leading to his suicide. Besides registering the case against ruling CPI(M) leader and municipality chairperson P K Shyamala for abetting the suicide of the businessman, the Congress-led UDF members also urged the Left government to take necessary steps to grant the ownership certificate at the earliest. The 49-year-old Nigeria-returned entrepreneur, Sajan Parayi, who had spent about Rs 16 crore for the auditorium, committed suicide by hanging himself at his home on June 18 after the CPI(M)-ruled Anthoor municipality refused to grant him the ownership certificate for his dream project, citing minor technicalities. As Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan remained silent over both these demands, stating that a probe is on into the matter, the opposition members trooped into the well of the House and encircled Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan's podium raising slogans "he (Sajan) was killed". Though the speaker tried to take up other business, he was forced to stop the proceedings for some time soon after the zero hour and later adjourned the House for the day. In an emotionally-charged speech, K M Shaji (IUML) said Sajan was a "martyr" and all the 140 members of the assembly had "moral responsibility" in his death. The MLA, who sought a notice for adjournment motion over the issue, also alleged that the businessman was a victim of factional feud in the CPI(M) leadership in the party's stronghold Kannur. Shyamala, also the wife of CPI(M) Central Committee member M V Govindan, had denied the ownership certificate to the auditorium as Sajan had sought the support of the party's former district secretary P Jayarajan, Shaji alleged, quoting the deceased man's wife. "Shyamala was the first person responsible in this unfortunate death. So a case should be registered against her under Indian Penal Code Section 306 for abetting suicide. Urgent steps should be taken to issue license for the auditorium," the MLA said. Vijayan, however, did not respond to either of the demands and charged the opposition with trying to use the incident politically against the CPI(M). Without mentioning any of the charges against Shyamala, he said five officials, including the municipal secretary, had already been suspended and a police probe was underway in the case. In view of the incident, steps would be taken to limit the powers of the municipal secretary and two more tribunals would be set up to hear the appeals with regard to complaints in local bodies, he said. "There is no attempt to sabotage the ongoing probe. A transparent investigation will be ensured. Nobody can escape from the clutches of the law," the chief minister added. Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala said Vijayan was trying to "protect" Shyamala by making officials scapegoats. Sajan's auditorium was denied permission not because of any legal issues, but only due to the "arrogance" of the municipal chairperson, he alleged. Chennithala later told reporters at the assembly media room that he was resigning as the vice-chairman of the Loka Kerala Sabha, a state initiative conceptualised to connect Malayalis across the world, as a mark of protest against the LDF government's 'apathetic' attitude towards the deceased NRI businessman and his family. The businessman's suicide had created a furore in the state, following which the Kerala High Court had taken up a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) on its own into the incident and issued a notice to the government, asking its explanation by July 15. PTI LGK RRT UD APR KJ KJ

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