Kerala recommends release of Manichan, kingpin of Kalluvathukkal hooch tragedy


Thiruvananthapuram: The state cabinet recommended the release of Chandran alias Manichan, prime accused in the deadly Kalluvathukkal hooch tragedy that rocked the state two decades ago.

Citing completion of 20 years in prison, the government asked Kerala Governor to relax his life term sentence. The trial court had said that Manichan shall spend the rest of his life in jail. While higher court relaxed sentences of other culprits, Manichan remained in jail.

Manichan is part of a group of prisoners to be pardoned as part of 'Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav', marking the 75th anniversary of Indian Independence. As the incident had rocked the state, Raj Bhavan is considering the move with caution. It has been three weeks since the file is pending with the Governor's office.

The Kalluvathukkal tragedy that claimed lives of 31 people and eye sight of another 500 happened on October 21, 2000 in Kollam. Manichan made underground rooms in his house to prepare hooch. Methanol was used for preparing the spurious liquor which resulted in the disaster. Manichan was sentenced for life term and another 43 years (to be served together) over various charges, including destruction of evidence.

Due to his 'good behaviour' in the Poojappura Central Jail, Manichan was later transferred to the Open Jail in Nettukaltheri. He is a popular farmer in jail.

Manichan's brothers Kochani and Manikandan were released in November last year in a similar way. Distributor Hairunnisa alias Thatha died in jail in 2009.

Last week, when Manichan's wife approached the Supreme Court seeking the release of her husband, the government submitted its opinion in a 'sealed cover' which the court refused to accept. SC asked Kerala to submit an affidavit instead.

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