Organisers thank ex-MP for fireworks at Puttingal

The probe team filed an affidavit under a directive from the court.

Kochi: Crime Branch probing the Puttingal fireworks tragedy on Wednesday altered its stand and submitted before Kerala High Court that several witnesses had deposed that there were announcements thanking former MP Peethambara Kurup for helping them obtain permission.

The probe team filed an affidavit under a directive from the court, which had earlier pointed out the lack of clarity on 'extra-constitutional power'. It also sought more time to complete the investigation.

Politicians Peethambara Kurup, G.S. Jayalal MLA and Congress leader Sooranad Rajasekharan had called the police officers, but when they appraised them of the technical issues involved, they dropped their attempt, the CBCID said.

It had informed that the investigation team could not trace anything that could prove intervention of 'extra-constitutional power centres' to give clearance for the fireworks display. Hence, no such persons are arrayed as accused.

There were allegations that senior political leaders in the region exerted pressure on the police and district administration to obtain no objection certificate for the fireworks.

In the latest affidavit, G. Sreedharan Nair, SP-CB stated that two police officials and six other independent witnesses categorically stated that they heard the organisers extending thanks to Mr Kurup through mic announcements.

But, Mr Kurup, in his statement, denied it, making it clear that he had indeed contacted city police commissioner and ADM over the phone, but they informed him the difficulties and hence withdrew from the attempt.

The CBCID submitted that regarding the alleged announcement, a detailed investigation had to be conducted by questioning various persons who had been there at the temple compound to witness fireworks display and sought more time to probe into this matter.

It further submitted that call data records of various persons, political and non-political and police and revenue officials, during that period have to be analysed.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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