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Sex abuse: Trial against Kerala ex-minister begins

September 16, 2008 15:56 IST

The much-awaited trial in the case of alleged sexual misconduct by former Kerala [Images] Public Works Minister P J Joseph commenced at a Magistrate Court in Chennai on Tuesday morning.

The two-year-old case came up for trial before Alandur Judicial Magistrate N Ramanathan, who heard Lakshmi Gopakumar, the alleged victim in the case, and Gopakumar, her husband, in an in-camera proceeding.

After the in-camera proceedings, which began at 1120 hours and lasted till 1300 hours, the magistrate conducted open court proceedings in which Gopakumar deposed.

The prosecution case claimed that Joseph had misbehaved with Lakshmi, who travelled along with him on a Kingfisher flight from Chennai to Kochi in September, 2006. After the incident broke out, Joseph stepped down from the ministry. The Kerala Cabinet had then deputed Inspector General of Police B Sandya to inquire into the incident.

Shaji Madhavan, who was the flight commander when the alleged incident took place, also deposed along with Gopakumar.

Joseph stood in silence in the court hall as the magistrate began the open court proceedings.

When the case came up for hearing on August 12, the magistrate, after directing the Kerala government to produce the original report of Sandya, fixed the trial for September 16.

As directed by the magistrate, F Joseph Raja, Under Secretary, Kerala Home Department, submitted the report along with seven other documents before the court.


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