A court here in Kerala on Monday posted the bail hearing of Congress MLA M. Vincent, arrested in a sexual harassment case, for Tuesday. Vincent was arrested on Saturday, a day after being charged with sexual harassment and stalking of a 51-year-old woman, who attempted suicide earlier this week.
The police plea seeking custody of the legislator for five days for further questioning was also posted for Tuesday. Since Saturday, the legislator has been remanded to judicial custody at the Neyattinkara sub-jail, located in the city’s outskirts. Vincent’s counsel on Monday pointed out that the prosecution has not provided the necessary details for it to study the case. Following which, the court postponed the hearing. The court also asked Vincent to be produced before it.
On Saturday night the court had sent him to 14-day’s judicial custody. This is the first time a sitting legislator in Kerala has been arrested on such charges. Before being arrested, Vincent, a first-time legislator, was grilled for over two hours by a police team.
The woman’s husband had filed a complaint with the local police station near here accusing the legislator of threatening and harassing his wife on the phone. Vincent, who represents Kovalam Assembly constituency, said he has done no wrong and claimed he was a victim of political conspiracy. The case surfaced after the woman attempted suicide by consuming an excessive dose of sleeping pills on Wednesday.
She was rushed to a hospital in the city suburbs and was saved. The police had earlier taken the statement of the woman. The woman told the media on Saturday that she has been facing severe mental harassment from the legislator, who had misbehaved with her on two different occasions. But a sister of the victim and Vincent’s wife support the legislator’s claim. They have given him a clean chit.
“This lady is known to us and on numerous occasions she has called on my mobile asking the phone to be given to Vincent. This has been a planned exercise with political overtures led by the CPI-M to trap my husband,” said the legislator’s wife. Top Congress leaders, including former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, visited Vincent’s house on Monday.
“You can even ask any child here, everyone knows the truth in this case,” said Chandy when asked whether Vincent was innocent. The Congress party on Sunday decided to suspend him from the post of party Secretary, but later decided to wait till the court found out the truth in the case. The Congress party leadership and the Congress-led UDF would meet here on Tuesday to discuss the issue.
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