Ex Kerala Minister appears before court in molestation case

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Chennai, Jun 2 (UNI) Former Kerala Minister P J Joseph today appeared before a Judicial Magistrate Court in connection with a molestation case.

After recording his appearance, Alandur Judicial Magistrate N Ramanathan explained the case mentioned in the charge sheet filed following a complaint from TV Actress Lakshmi Gopakumar who said she was sexually molested by the former minister.

When the Magistrate sought his comments, Mr Joseph said ''I am innocent.'' Meanwhile, Mr Joseph's counsels pleaded for exempting him from appearing before the court on a routine basis.

They submitted Mr Joseph was a leader of a prominent political party in Kerala and a former minister and wanted the court to allow him to appear on important days.

They said he could not attend to his political work by appearing before the court during every hearing and said his personal appearance could be dispensed with.

When the counsels pointed out a petition had already been filed in this regard, the Magistrate asked the police to file its counter and adjourned the case to July three for further hearing.

Mr Joseph was charged with sexually molesting Lakshmi Gopakumar on board a flight while travelling to Kochi from Chennai two years back.

Acting on a complaint from the actor, police registered a case and the Kerala Government ordered an inquiry by IG Sandhya, who later submitted her report to the court.

Based on this, the court issued summons to the ex-Minister who had appeared before before the court on May 24 and obtained bail.

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