Madhu lynching case: Witnesses turn hostile due to delay in trial, opine legal experts

By VS Siju

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Madhu | Photo: Mathrubhumi

Kochi: The delayed start of the trial in the case of mob lynching of Attappady tribal youth Madhu has resulted in the witnesses turning hostiles, said the legal sources. The legal experts opined that the current situation could have been averted if the trial had begun soon after the submission of the chargesheet.

The suspects and witnesses are from the same area. The accused who are on bail for the past four years could easily influence the witnesses in the case, the sources alleged.

The trial is proceeding in the Scheduled Caste/ Scheduled Tribe Special court in Mannarkkad. The government had appointed a special prosecutor, only after one and a half years after the incident. Though VT Raghunath was appointed as special prosecutor in 2019, he stepped down soon. High court lawyer C Rajendran was later appointed when the trial court lashed out at the absence of a prosecutor in the case. However, many, including Madhu’s mother, requested to change the prosecutor when several witnesses turned hostile in the case. Despite appointing a new special prosecutor, Rajesh M Menon, the witnesses are continuing to turn hostile. The special prosecutor informed that legal action will be taken against those who did volte-face.

Accusing serial theft, a mob had beaten Madhu to death at Attappady on February 22, 2018. The number of witnesses who turned hostile to date have touched nine.

The state is yet to implement the union home ministry's Witness Protection Scheme of 2018.

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