Kochi, Nov 16 (UNI) The Kerala high court today dismissed an appeal by the state government for a re-trial in the infamous ice cream parlour sex racket case and upheld the trial court order, acquitting all 16 accused in the case.
Dimissing the government appeal and a revision petition filed by social activist K Ajitha, Justice K Thankappan said that the principal assistant sessions court, Kozhikode, could not be faulted for concluding in its order of January 12, 2006, that the prosecution had failed to present any evidence to prove the involvement of the accused in the sex racket.
Among those acquitted by judge L R Sathyan were former Mayors T P Dasan and O. Rajagopal.
The other accused were C Sreedevi, P P Abdulla, Edakkattu Khaderkutty, P A Abdulrahiman, M K Abdul Khader, Kalarikkal Basheer, James Joseph alias Joemon, K T Joseph alias Ouseppachan, Baby Joseph alias Queens Baby, Cheriyaarampath Muhammedkutty, A Aravindakshan, Baijunath Karippaly, P.K. Rafi and N.Vijayan.
Upholding the trial court order, the high court observed that ''this court is of the view that the trial court cannot be found fault with in coming to the conclusion that the prosecution had not succeeded in proving the case aganst any of the accused as there were no proved facts, circumstances or evidence which warranted interference of the trial court at any stage of the trial.'' It further said that the stand taken by the state government and the revision petitioner against the public prosecutor and the trial judge, after full participation in the trial, was not sustainable.
The state government had contended that since all the witnesses, except K Ajitha and the official witnesses, had turned hostile to the prosecution, the trial court committed serious error in not eliciting the truth from these witneses.
Turning down the state government's plea, the high court said that even by applying the principles followed by the Supreme Court while ordering a re-trial in the Best Bakery case, this was not a fit case to order re-trial.
The case was initially filed by an NGO, Anweshi of activist K Ajitha, in 1997, accusing top political leaders, lawyers and businessmen of allegedly exploiting minor girls in a prostitution racket.
According to the petitioner, main accused Sreedevi lured minor girls under the guise of giving them training in her beauty parlour and supplied them to the accused.
The in-camera trial began on December 16, 2005, on the orders of the Kerala High Court.
However, all five girls involved in the case told the judge they neither accompanied the key suspects in the racket to any place nor did they have sex with any of the accused.