Kerala Minister for Fisheries J Mercykutty Amma has alleged that the director of the US-based firm EMCC International, Shiju Varghese, who is contesting against her from Kollam’s Kundara constituency, tried to sabotage the election by allegedly trying to “fake his own attack” on Tuesday. Visuals of a bottle on fire near a car, allegedly belonging to Shiju Varghese, started airing on media on Tuesday. EMCC International (India) Pvt Ltd is the US firm that had signed the controversial deep sea fishing contract with the Kerala State Inland Navigation Corporation (KSINC) and Kerala State Industries Development Corporation (KSIDC), both of which have been cancelled following controversies.
Speaking to the media while at the polling booth to cast her vote, Mercykutty Amma also claimed that Shiju has been arrested by Kollam police after he allegedly tried to fake that he was attacked. “This morning, he came in an Innova car and tried to pour petrol to portray that he was attacked. But luckily, the police saw this and arrested him,” said Mercykutty Amma, adding that it was a move to sabotage the election.
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However, Shiju Varghese denied Mercykutty Amma’s allegations and alleged that he was attacked. “I was attacked while coming to the constituency this morning. I came here (to the police station) to give a statement as part of my complaint,” Shiju told the media. The Kannanalloor police also told TNM that he came to the police station to file a complaint. "He came with a complaint that someone threw a bottle containing some fuel at his car. We took his statement and he left after that," an official at the police station in Kollam said.
EMCC Director Shiju is contesting as an independent candidate against Mercykutty Amma from Kundara constituency. The firm came under the spotlight after the contracts it signed with KSINC, to construct 400 deep-sea trawlers, became controversial. The Opposition Congress in Kerala, Ramesh Chennithala, had alleged that the move is against the traditional fishing workers of the state. After the incident kicked up a major row and protests ensued, the state government announced that the contract will be terminated. Later, the second contract between KSIDC and EMCC was also reportedly cancelled.
According to reports, Shiju had said that the Kerala government deceived him and that he was contesting in the election to prove that.
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