Evidence tampering case: HC quashes criminal proceedings against minister Antony Raju

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Antony Raju

Kochi: Kerala High Court on Friday dismissed criminal proceedings against Transport minister Antony Raju in connection with the evidence tampering case.

Though the FIR and further proceedings on that were quashed citing technical lapses, the court viewed that the allegations raised against Raju were serious in nature. The present judgement is not a bar on pursuing prosecution as per the provisions of Section 195(1)(b) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, it noted.

The court also directed the HC registrar to take legal action in the case without any delay.

The case has been proceeding at Judicial First Class Magistrate Court in Thiruvananthapuram.

The court was agreeing to Antony Raju's contention that police have no right to file a case against him as the evidence concerned was in the custody of the trial court. However, the court viewed that, by clearing the legal and technical issues related to the case, the court authorities concerned could take appropriate action.

The case dates back to 1990 when Antony Raju was representing Salvatore Cervelli, an Australian citizen accused of smuggling hashish by concealing it in his underwear.

Cervelli was cleared of all charges after the underwear produced in court seemed to have shrunk in size. After years of the probe, a charge sheet was finally submitted in 2006, alleging Raju has tampered with the evidence.

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