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Accused of ‘bribing’ rival to withdraw nomination in Assembly polls, Kerala BJP chief booked

Kasaragod police on Monday registered a case against Kerala BJP president K Surendran following allegations that the saffron party had ‘bribed‘ a rival candidate to withdraw his nomination from Manjeshwaram constituency in the recent Assembly elections.

Surendran had contested unsuccessfully from Manjeshwaram in these elections.

The BJP has dismissed the allegations and called it a conspiracy against the party.

Kasaragod police registered the case under IPC Sections 171 (B) and 171 (E) — inducing a person to exercise any electoral right, or rewarding any person from having exercised any such right and bribery, respectively.

The police acted on a direction from the judicial magistrate court in Kasaragod, where CPI(M) leader V V Rameshan moved a petition seeking a direction to the police to register an FIR.

Rameshan had also contested from the constituency and finished third, after A K M Ashraf of the IUML, who won the seat, and Surendran.

On Saturday, BSP leader K Sundara had alleged that the BJP had paid him Rs 2.5 lakh and also given him a smartphone to withdraw his nomination from Manjeshwaram. Sundara, who had also contested the 2016 polls and had polled fewer than 500 votes then, claimed that he had demanded Rs 10 lakh to withdraw. He was allegedly offered a wine parlour and a new house in Karnataka, according to Sundara.

Police recorded Sundara’s statement, who claimed that he was abducted by local BJP leaders, who allegedly forced him to withdraw his nomination. After withdrawing his nomination as a BSP candidate, Sundara had joined the BJP.

On March 21, Sundara had announced his withdrawal from the poll race. That day, former Yuva Morcha state treasurer Sunil Naik had visited his home in Kasaragod’s Badiyadukka village, according to Sundara.

Sunil had announced on Facebook Sundara’s decision to withdraw nomination from the election.

Incidentally, the name of Sunil, a native of Kozhikode, had figured in connection with the highway robbery of Rs 3.5 crore three days before the Assembly elections in the state. Sunil had told police that he had paid Rs 25 lakh to RSS worker A K Dharmarajan for his real estate investment.

Dharmarajan had claimed that he had lost only Rs 25 lakh in the robbery, but police have so far recovered over Rs 1 crore.

Doubts whether CPM, BJP will reach pact to end probe: Congress

Thiruvananthapuram: The Congress Monday said that “people have doubts” whether the CPI(M) and BJP “would reach an understanding to end the probe” into the gold smuggling and highway robbery cases as both parties have cases to settle mutually.

The remarks were made by Opposition leader V D Satheesan after Chief Minister Pinarayii Vijayan’s reply to a notice for an adjournment motion moved by Coingress’s Shafi Parambil. “People have doubts whether both parties would reach an understanding to end the probe into smuggling and robbery cases. The government action against BJP should not be like a fight in a circus in which there would not be any action but only sounds.” —ENS

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