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Is CPM going easy on Madani?

Is CPM going easy on Madani?

Author: Ananthakrishnan G
Publication: The Times of India
Date: March 16, 2009

Introduction: Left Keen On PDP Chief's Support In Elections

Bonhomie between the CPM and People's Democratic Party chief Abdul Nasser Madani, acquitted in the 1998 Coimbatore blasts case, in Kerala may not have come without a price.

Investigations into some recent acts of terror reportedly point to the radical Muslim cleric-turned-politician's family. One of these relates to the 2005 bus burning case at Aluva near Kochi. A key witness in the case, Yousuf, had testified that the planning was done at the house of Madani's wife Sufiya at Eranakulam, sources said.

Yousuf's statement recorded before a magistrate is part of the chargesheet filed recently by the police. But, she does not figure in the list of the accused. Five men armed with pistols and other weapons had hijacked a Tamil Nadu State Road Transport Corporation bus soon after it left Kochi on September 9, 2005. They forced the driver to take it to an isolated spot. Then they set the bus on fire after forcing out the passengers. They were also shouting slogans in favour of Madani and against the TN government.

Police claimed they were angry over TN government's decision to oppose the bail plea of Madani, who was then lodged in the Coimbatore jail in the 1998 blasts case.

Majeed Parambayi, an accused in the case, has also spilled the beans on Sufiya's alleged role in the case. The woman, he said, had called him to say that Madani was beaten up in the jail and that it was to be avenged. He also confessed to having distributed the money given by her to the accused after the crime.

One of the accused in the case was Abdul Rahim, who along with three youths from Kerala was killed by security forces in Kashmir in October 2008. Sleuths are reportedly in possession of telephone call records between Rahim and Sufiya.

PDP leader Poonthura Siraj, meanwhile, said that the party did not take the chargesheet seriously. ''It's election time and people will say all kinds of things,'' he said.

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