An eyewitness in the case relating to Kerala government pleader Dhanesh Mathew Manjooran allegedly molesting a woman told The News Minute that he has seen the lawyer molesting the woman. Manjooran's arrest on July 14 on charges of molestation and subsequent release had snowballed into a major spat between the media and lawyers with the latter crying foul against both the police and the media for foisting trumped-up charges on their ‘presumed innocent’ colleague.
Shaji Joseph who runs a restaurant on MG road in Kochi reiterates that he did see Manjooran harassing a woman, before fleeing when the victim shouted for help.
“I was on my way to the market to buy some vegetables. Mid-way, I halted near Convent Junction to have a smoke. The road was not crowded with hardly a couple of people around. It was dark. That is when I saw this person touching a woman. She screamed and the guy fled. The few of us who were initially on the scene first thought he was a chain-snatcher. I saw people run behind him. I too followed on my scooter in pursuit. They were able to grab him around 50 metres from the spot,” Shaji recalls.
Shaji says that watching the police officers who had arrived on the scene behave so respectfully towards Manjooran, he got the mistaken impression that the latter was a police officer himself.
“After getting hold of him, we called the police. But when they came, they were very courteous towards the guy. It was only the next day -on reading the newspaper- that I realized he was a government pleader,” he remarks.
Manjooran however continues to stick to his claim that he was only trying to help the lady catch the culprit who tried to snatch her chain, and that the onlookers had grabbed him in a case of mistaken identity.
He even went on to allege –with full support from the Kerala High Court Advocates Association- that the police were deliberately trying to frame him in the case.
“That’s not true. No one tried to snatch her chain; it was him. I clearly saw him touching her. He fled only after she cried aloud for help,” Shaji avers.
He does confess however that he was scared to reveal this in public: “They even attacked the media for simply reporting the incident. Imagine what they will do to a common man like me. I was too scared to tell anyone.”
The victim in her complaint made at the Ernakulam Central police station had stated that Manjooran had tried to molest her. She was later forced to backtrack due to pressure exerted by the colleagues of the accused, but went on to secretly depose her original statement before a female District Magistrate.
Advocate Sangeetha Lakshmana who practises at the Kerala High Court in Ernakulam had earlier registered her strong protest with The News Minute against the state bar association for unnecessarily intervening in a matter which did not fall into their purview whatsoever.
“In my viewpoint, it is a clear case of attempt to molest that has been filed against the accused. If Manjooran feels that this is a fabricated charge that has been foisted on him by the police in order to get back at him, he does have recourse to seek legal address for the same. This is not at all a matter for the state Bar Association to intervene. They simply have no role to play here,” she said.
The lawyers had even gone to the extent of shutting down the media rooms at the High Court as well as the district courts, and indulged in arson while threatening the media to stay away from the court premises in future.
Shaji had told the same to Manorama News on camera. Watch the video here: