KSU Idukki district president had submitted a complaint before the police and Motor Vehicles Department (MVD) demanding action.

Joju George
news Law Tuesday, May 10, 2022 - 19:10

A case has been registered against Malayalam actor Joju George for taking part in an off-road race at Vagamon in Idukki district of Kerala. The incident occurred at Kannamkulam Arappukad division of MMJ estate near Vagamon in Idukki on Saturday, May 7. The event was held by an organisation called ‘Jeevan Memorial UKO’. Joju participated in the event on an invitation from the organisers. Off-road racing is a form of motor vehicle racing conducted over rough, unmarked and risky terrain.

Kerala Students Union (KSU) Idukki district president had submitted a complaint before the police and Motor Vehicles Department (MVD), and demanded action against the organisers and the actor who participated in the illegal off-road race. The Vagamon police on Monday registered a case against the organisers, landowner, and actor Joju George. As per the FIR (First Information Report), the MMJ plantation owner was included as the first accused and the race organisers were included as the second accused.

"The case was booked under IPC sections 188 (Disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant), 336 (Whoever does any act so rashly or negligently as to endanger human life or the personal safety of others), 34 (criminal act done by several persons in furtherance of the common intention), and Disaster Management Authority Act 2005 in connection with the incident. The actor was included as a third accused in the case" said a police official from Vagamon police station.

Idukki Regional Transport Officer R Ramanan said visuals of the race clearly showed that there were violations of the Motor Vehicle Act in the off-road race. "Vandiperiyar Joint RTO has been directed to submit a report on the incident by Tuesday night. After getting the report, the MVD will take further action" said the official.

"Actor Joju George was directed to appear before the RTO with his driving licence. The actor called and informed me that he is shooting at Wayanad. Now, he has been directed to appear before me within one week,” said Ramanan.

According to officials, the off-road races were banned in Idukki in the wake of repeated such incidents. The race was conducted without approval from any department, said MVD officials.

"The visuals, which went viral on social media, clearly show the actor racing a jeep inside a tea plantation without following any rules," said an MVD official. 

KSU Idukki district president Tony Thomas said there were three types of violations that occurred in the event. "The land was allotted only for agricultural purposes and they illegally conducted off-road races on the agricultural land. The off-road race was conducted without security measures, and the race was conducted without prior approval from the Idukki district administration, Motor Vehicle, or Idukki district police chief. In my complaint, I demanded the officials to take strict action against the issue,” said Thomas.

In the wake of the Malampuzha incident, the Idukki district administration banned all illegal trekking in the Idukki district in February this year. "It was noticed that tourists were conducting illegal off-road races and mountain trekking in various parts of the district. Illegal off-road and high mountain trekking in the district were banned under Disaster Management Authority Act 2005 from February 11 onwards," said District Collector Sheeba George, adding that off-road races and high mountain trekking are allowed only on approved routes.

Read: Kerala youth Babu’s dramatic rescue sheds light on dangers of unsafe adventure tourism

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