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Embarrassment for CPM in Kerala; Court orders probe against Madani's wife

Embarrassment for CPM in Kerala; Court orders probe against Madani's wife

Author: VR Jayaraj
Publication: The Pioneer
Date: April 1, 2009

In a major setback to the CPI(M), which has tied up with the PDP of Abdul Nasser Madani in Kerala, a court has ordered an investigation into the alleged role of Sufiya Madani, wife of the PDP chairman, in the case related to the burning of a Tamil Nadu Transport Corporation bus at Kalamassery off Kochi on September 9, 2005.

After considering a public interest litigation, Judicial First Class Magistrate Aluva on Wednesday asked the Kalamassery police to probe the case and submit a preliminary report before June 1. The court's action followed a PIL filed by PD Joseph of Thrissur, who challenged the reluctance of the police to investigate the case despite the statement by an accused and several other reports that directly alleged Sufiya's role in the incident.

Majeed Parambayi, fifth accused in the case, had told the police that Sufiya had engineered and executed the bus-burning operation as a revenge against the alleged torture of Madani in Coimbatore Jail where he was lodged as an accused in the serial bombings there in 1998.

The court's order was seen as a direct setback for Madani, who had last week claimed that Majeed had not given such a statement to the police but they had written it all down on paper and forcibly got him to sign it. He had earlier claimed that Sufiya was a poor woman who could not muster the courage even to burn a bicycle, let alone a bus.

The order could also cause some discomfort for the CPI(M), whose Politburo member Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, the Home Minister of the State, had recently said there would be no probe against Sufiya or Madani as all the allegations were old. The Congress-led UDF and the BJP were sure to use the court order as an electoral weapon against the LDF in the contest of the alliance between the PDP and the CPI(M).

Records with the Kerala Police had said that Sufiya herself had planned the burning of the bus, intending to deal a blow to the Tamil Nadu authorities for torturing Madani in the prison at Coimbatore. Majeed, a native of Kannur and former Kannur district secretary of Madani's PDP, had told the police that Sufiya had planned and funded the operation.

Majeed had given the statement involving Sufiya's name to the Additional Police Commissioner, who was probing the case, on December 4, 2005. According to reports, it was Majeed, who used to visit Madani at the Coimbatore prison, who had told Sufiya about the torture on Madani.

According to the statement with the police, Sufiya had wanted to "give a dose" to the Tamil Nadu authorities for torturing her husband. When Majeed asked her what they could do, she said they would burn a Tamil Nadu bus. He had also told the police that Sufiya had asked about the availability of suitable persons to carry out the operation.

Majeed then contacted Shafeeq, Ashiq and Ummer Farooq, the other accused in the case. He told the police that Sufiya had given Rs 20,000 each to those who carried out the bus-burning operation.

Serious allegations in the form of witness depositions and statement by terror accused had already come up against Sufiya Madani. According to one report, Sufiya was the local guardian of the daughter of Sainuddeen alias Abdul

Sattar, said to be the manufacturer of explosives that went off in the various Indian cities last year.

Sainuddeen's daughter had been attending a lower primary English medium school staying at the house of Sufiya. The principal of the school had told the Kochi Police that Sufiya was the local guardian of Sainuddeen's child, according to school records. There were also reports that the four Malayalee militants killed in Kashmir by security forces last October had celebrated Id at Sufiya's place.

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