Antony Raju | Photo: Mathrubhumi
Thiruvananthapuram: The Chief Judicial Magistrate court has directed the police to produce the file relating to the case against lawyer-turned-minister Adv Antony Raju who is alleged to have tampered evidence in a drug smuggling case in which he appeared for the accused in 1996.
The news regarding inordinate delay in the case had triggered the discussions. The court action comes following the news.
In 1994, Australian national Andrew Salvador was arrested in Thiruvananthapuram airport for allegedly possessing 61 grams of hashish oil. Antony Raju, who was the junior advocate in Thiruvananthapuram bar, appeared for Salvador but failed to prove his innocence. Salvador was sentenced to one year imprisonment and Rs 10 lakh fine.
When an appeal was filed in high court, Salvador was acquitted citing lack of evidence. Later, investigating officer inspector KK Jayamohan approached the high court claiming the evidence was tampered. HC ordered a probe.
Meanwhile, Antony Raju got elected to the Assembly. In 2005, IG TP Senkumar ordered re-probe into the matter. Following the investigation, a case was registered against Antony Raju and court clerk KS Jose for tampering with evidence. Raju was charge-sheeted in 2006 for tampering with an undergarment allegedly used for smuggling hashish by an Australian national in 1994.
Though the charge sheet was filed in 2006 at Vanchiyoor court, trial did not start. In 2014, the case was transferred to Nedumangad court and the trial began.
Antony Raju did not appear for trial over these years. The minister, however, said that his advocate had appeared for him which was sufficient. The case will be considered for the 23rd time on August 4.