Sex racket witnesses paid to shield Kerala minister: Case diary

The case diary of the probe into alleged attempts to influence witnesses in a 1997 sex racket is set to turn the heat on IUML leader and Kerala Industries Minister P K Kunhalikutty. The case relates to using minor girls in a sex racket under the cover of an ice cream parlour in Kozhikode.

Four witnesses have told the police that they were paid to change their earlier statement that Kunhalikutty had abused them. Their statements became public after Opposition leader V S Achuthanandan obtained the case diary details through a court directive.

The case went through several courts and all 16 accused were let off. But in 2011 after Kunhalikutty's estranged relative K A Rauf confessed witnesses were paid money to cover up his role, the CPM government ordered a probe.

The police had submitted the probe report in a magistrate court in Kozhikode last year. The report said the police could not arrive at a conclusion on whether Kunhalikutty was liable for any punishable offence. It also said that the witnesses' statements were "inconsistent and unreliable" and therefore a definite opinion was not possible. The court is yet to take a final decision on the report.

Meanwhile, Achuthanandan had alleged that the probe is being derailed. He went up to the Supreme Court to seek copies of the case diary including witnesses' statements. One of the witnesses in her statement had said she had got money to cover up Kunhalikutty's role even after the revelations of Rauf. They told the police that they "trained" to give statements in favour of Kunhalikutty.

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