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'Missing' teacher case entrusted to CBI

Written by: Staff

Madurai, Mar 24 (UNI) The Madurai Bench of Madras High Court today ordered the transfer of the probe to the CBI the case of a newly-married missing lady teacher in which a ruling AIADMK legislator and his son are among the accused.

Declining to grant any further extension to the CB-CID which was investigating the incident, a Division Bench entrusted the probe to the CBI.

The Bench also directed the CB-CID to handover the case material to the CBI within a week. As 16 months had lapsed (the teacher had gone missing in October 2004), the individual's personal liberty will be in danger, it said.

Meenakshi (32), wife of Jothi Ramalingam, working at Pannikampatti Government Higher Secondary School in Erode District, went missing on October 19, 2004.

On a Habeas Corpus Petition (HCP) from her husband, the court had, in January last, entrusted the probe with a Special Investigation Team of the CB-CID.

Closing the HCP, the Bench directed the CBI to file its report before the appropriate subordinate court, which would henceforth take up the matter.

However, the Bench made it clear that divesting the case from the CB-CID should not be construed the agency was inefficient.

On December 16 last, the case witnessed a curious twist with the CB-CID Superintendent of Police C Sridhar, heading the SIT, filing a petition to relieve him of his responsibilities in the probe and the CB-CID itself seeking closure of the matter on the ground that the teacher could not be traced anymore. The Bench, however, had turned down the plea.

The probe so far had covered various angles, including abduction of the teacher by the MLA, his son Karunakaran and his friends, Ranganathan, Raja and others.

They were questioned and subjected to narco-analysis tests among others. The results were awaited. A team had also proceeded to Mumbai and advertisements published in the media to trace the teacher.

But, no tangible evidence had been forthcoming about Meenakshi's whereabouts, the CB-CID had submitted earlier.

On many occasions earlier, the Bench had rapped the CB-CID for the delay in filing the final and comprehensive report and seeking extensions.

On November 11 last, the CB-CID, submitting it was very close to unravelling the mystery, had assured the Bench it would not seek any further extension to submit the report.


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