KOCHI: The Marad communal carnage case has come to the fore again with the High Court recommending that the police get to the bottom of the mystery surrounding a mobile phone — used to contact a Pakistani national — which reportedly had gone missing. Mohammed Fahad, the foreign national in this case, had an extended stay at Kozhikode before the Marad riot in 2003.
The inaction, if any, on the part of police will amount to compromising the ‘security of the nation’ as well the state and society at large, especially when it is connected with the massacre of a section of people at Marad.
The larger conspiracy behind the Marad riot had been probed by the CBI. Though the CBI registered an FIR in January 2017, little headway was made in the investigation. Justice Thomas P Joseph Commission, which inquired into the communal carnage, had recommended an investigation into the larger conspiracy behind the massacre.
Justice P Somarajan made the observation while quashing a defamation case against the printer and editor of Janmabhumi daily for publishing the revelation made by retired Superintendent of Police C M Pradeep Kumar, who had been the investigation officer in the Marad case. Pradeep had revealed about the visit made by Muhammed Fahad just before the Marad massacre occurred, besides the alleged funding made in this connection.
It was stated that during the investigation into the source of money and funding connected with the Marad massacre, the close relationship between Fahad and the complainant, who is a youth Congress leader, came to his notice. C M Pradeep Kumar also revealed that the complainant had claimed that he lost his mobile phone while swimming in the sea. The mobile landed in someone else’s hands and he may have used it to contact Fahad. The complainant came up with a private complaint against the news item, alleging that it is an offence under Section 499 (defamation) and Section 500 of the IPC.
The court stated that what is reported as news item in a daily newspaper is the true version of what had actually been spoken by the retired SP in connection with the Marad massacre. Hence, it does not constitute an offence under Section 499 or under Section 500 of the IPC against the petitioners. “It is the solemn duty of the fourth estate (media) to publish all news materials, especially having public importance and it is also their duty to comment on the news material with its pros and cons so as to enlighten the society to remain vigilant on the matters of public importance,” said the court.
The court observed that the complaint is really intended to defeat the solemn function vested with the fourth estate and it will tell upon what is behind it, especially when there is the serious revelation made by then officer regarding the contact made with a Pakistani citizen through the mobile phone of the complainant.
“A section of people living on the seashore at Marad had been the victims. The version that the mobile phone of the defacto complainant had been lost on the seashore while having a swim assumes importance,” observed the court. V Sajith Kumar, counsel for petitioners, submitted that the complainant had not denied the main contents of the news report either in the notice or in the complaint. He did not contest the fact that he was questioned in connection with Fahad. The petitioners also cited the details of the police report which stated that Pakistan agent Fahad had been arrested in 2006. It was revealed that Fahad had been living in Kozhikode for a long time.
Justice P Somarajan made the observation while quashing a defamation case against the printer and editor of Janmabhumi daily for publishing the revelation made by retired SP C M Pradeep Kumar, who had been the investigation officer in the Marad case