Case against Akhila Nandakumar: Kerala police drops charges against Asianet News reporter over lack of proof
Asianet News chief reporter Akhila Nandakumar was booked by the Kerala Police for reporting on the mark list controversy at the Maharaja's College in Kochi that involved SFI state secretary PM Arsho.
Kochi: The Kerala police on Tuesday (Sep 19) dropped the charges against Asianet News chief reporter Akhila Nandakumar in connection with the news reporting on Maharaja's College mark list controversy. The Kerala police's Crime Branch informed the Ernakulam Magistrate court that there was no evidence against Akhila Nandakumar for conspiracy. The District Crime Branch therefore dropped charges against the reporter.
The police action was based on a complaint lodged by the Left-backed Students' Federation of India State Secretary PM Arsho's complaint. What's shocking is that the complaint was taken at face value and Akhila Nandakumar was booked without even conducting a preliminary investigation. The police had booked a case against Maharaja's College, Ernakulam former coordinator Vinod Kumar, college principal VS Joy, KSU state president Aloysius Xavier, Fazil CA, and Akhila Nandakumar after SFI state secretary PM Arsho's complaint alleging conspiracy.
Akhila and her cameraman had reached the Maharaja's College campus on June 6 to seek details in the forgery case of former SFI leader Vidya. Vidya was on the run ever when she was accused of forging documents to secure a guest lecturer position in the government college. Akhila spoke Live to the principal and the Malayalam section teacher on the 11 a.m. news and sought details. Akhila also asked the student representatives present in the principal's room for their response regarding Vidya's forgery. It was then that one of the student representatives raised Arsho's mark list controversy, saying that there was another issue more important than this.
With this, the SFI state secretary's mark list controversy along with the forgery case came to the fore. Arsho interpreted this incident as a conspiracy against him and approached the police. It was on this complaint that the Kochi Central Police registered a case against Akhila Nandakumar.
The case was registered under sections 120-B, 465,469 and 500 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and 120 (o) of the Kerala Police (KP) Act 2011 including criminal conspiracy, forgery, and defamation. The police levelled conspiracy charges against the journalist who went to the campus to bring the information in the forgery case to the general public.
People from all walks of life, including cultural figures, senior journalists, and advocates for civil rights came forward to protest against the Kerala government and police for their provoking actions against the media and journalists. Cultural leaders commented that it is incredibly anti-democratic and a denial of press freedom to prosecute journalists for reading and reporting the news and then demand that they come to the police station for questioning.
In a joint statement, 137 cultural figures called for an immediate end to the Kerala Police's actions against Asianet News reporters Akhila Nandakumar, Abjod Varghese, and Malayalam Manorama (Kollam) Special Correspondent Jayachandran Ilankat, who looked into and exposed corruption at the Kerala Minerals and Metals Limited.