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Evidence tampering case: Kerala HC stays all proceedings against state transport minister

Kochi: The Kerala High Court on Wednesday stayed further proceedings in the evidence tampering case registered against Kerala Transport Minister Antony Raju for one month.

Single Bench of Justice Ziyad Rahman AA ruled, "It is seen from the record that the aforesaid proceedings have not been complied with in this case and therefore I find a prima facie case in favour of the petitioner. Therefore, it is ordered that there shall be an interim order staying all further proceedings for a period of one month." The Court issued the interim order while considering a plea moved by Minister Antony Raju under section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) to quash the case against him.
The case was pending in the Judicial First Class Magistrate Court of Nedumangad in the Thiruvananthapuram district.

The 'evidence tampering' case was registered against the minister when he was an advocate. It pertains that he was conspired with a clerk of the district court of Thiruvananthapuram and replaced an undergarment, which was a material object in the drug trafficking case.
The case also involved an Australian citizen, Andrew Salvatore who was booked under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act.

The district court later sentenced Salvatore to 10 years of rigorous imprisonment and was later acquitted by the Kerala High Court after the underwear presented as evidence in the district court was found smaller in size and could not have been worn by the accused at the time of his arrest.
The then minister was the counsel of the accused (Salvatore) at that time.

The police had filed a charge sheet against the minister in 2006 and it was allegedly pending in the magistrate court for years. (ANI)

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