Madras HC allows further investigation in Kodanad case

Madras High Court allows further investigation in Kodanad case

A new twist was added to the case when 3 persons accused in the case moved the HC seeking to examine several AIADMK members

Credit: iStockPhoto

In a setback to former Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami, the Madras High Court on Friday ruled that the Nilgiris police can continue with further investigation in the Kodanad Estate break-in-cum-murder case. The court’s ruling came while dismissing a petition filed by a prosecution witness seeking a stay on the further probe in the sensational case. 

Justice M Nirmal Kumar said the police was “fully empowered” to conduct further investigation in the case and ruled that the petitioner, ‘Anubhav’ Ravi, has no locus standi to seek a stay on further probe since he is a prosecution witness. Ravi is an office-bearer of Nilgiris district AIADMK. 

With the High Court giving a green signal for further probe in the case, the District Sessions Court in Nilgiris will hear the case on September 2. The sessions court had adjourned the case for September 2 as AIADMK lawyers sought postponement of the hearing citing the case in the High Court.  

The ruling by the High Court is a setback to Palaniswami who had alleged that the DMK government was trying to “frame” him in the case. Palaniswami had alleged that the case was being re-investigated at a time the trial was “coming to an end”. 

Kodanad was the summer retreat of Jayalalithaa since she and her long-time aide V K Sasikala bought the sprawling bungalow in Kothagiri in the early 1990s. The former chief minister would visit the bungalow often when her party, AIADMK, was occupying the Opposition benches in the Assembly.

Sayan and nine others are accused of breaking into the sprawling mansion owned by Jayalalithaa in 2017, months after her death, and killing a guard who was posted there. Police had then alleged that C Kanagaraj, Jayalalithaa’s former driver, and Sayan plotted the crime. 

However, Kanagaraj, Sayan’s wife and their daughter died in separate road accidents, raising doubts. An “independent investigation” conducted by journalist Mathew Samuel alleged that Palaniswami was behind the break-in, but the former Chief Minister had steered clear of the issue, saying vested interests were trying to bring “disrepute” to him and Jayalalithaa.

A new twist was added to the case earlier this week when three persons accused in the case moved the High Court seeking to examine Palaniswami, ousted AIADMK general secretary V K Sasikala and six others in the case. 

The Criminal Revision Petition under Section 233 of Cr. PC was filed by Deepu, Satheesan, and Santhosh Samy. They wanted the court to examine Palaniswami, Sasikala, Jayalalithaa’s foster son V N Sudakaran, the then Nilgiris Collector Shankar, the then Nilgiris SP Murali Rambha, two employees of the Kodanad Estate and an AIADMK office-bearer from Gudalur. 

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