Kerala University youth festival judge accused of taking bribe dies by suicide

Shaji was one of the judges in Margam Kali and was taken into custody by the Cantonment police from the Youth Festival venue, and released later.
Representative image
Representative image
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One of the judges, who was accused of receiving bribes during the Kerala University Youth Festival, died by suicide in Kannur on Wednesday, March 13. The deceased was identified as 51-year-old PN Shaji also known as Shaji Poothatta. He was one of the judges of Margam Kali.

A note was recovered from the bedroom of his house, which read ‘I am innocent and I have not done anything wrong’. Kannur city police has sent the body for postmortem. Shaji's brother told the media that his brother was innocent, and that he was framed by those who were acquainted with him. 

The Kerala University Youth Festival, supposed to conclude on Monday, March 11, was suspended midway following allegations of bribery and pre-determined results. The festival venue witnessed protests by students over appeals and judgements. The Margam Kali was decided to be held again on March 11 by the appellate committee. However, the festival was suspended the same day.

Union members of the university alleged that several judges received bribes and submitted WhatsApp messages as the proof. Three judges Shaji, Shibin and Jomet and an alleged middleman Sooraj were taken into custody by the Cantonment police from the Youth Festival venue on March 9 and were later released. The police had issued a notice to Shaji asking him to appear at the station.

If you are aware of anyone facing mental health issues or feeling suicidal, please provide help. Here are some helpline numbers of suicide-prevention organisations that can offer emotional support to individuals and families.

Tamil Nadu

State health department's suicide helpline: 104

Sneha Suicide Prevention Centre - 044-24640050 (listed as the sole suicide prevention helpline in Tamil Nadu)

Andhra Pradesh

Life Suicide Prevention: 78930 78930

Roshni: 9166202000, 9127848584


Sahai (24-hour): 080 65000111, 080 65000222


Maithri: 0484 2540530

Chaithram: 0484 2361161

Both are 24-hour helpline numbers.


State government's suicide prevention (tollfree): 104

Roshni: 040 66202000, 6620200

SEVA: 09441778290, 040 27504682 (between 9 am and 7 pm

Aasara offers support to individuals and families during an emotional crisis, for those dealing with mental health issues and suicidal ideation, and to those undergoing trauma after the suicide of a loved one.

24x7 Helpline: 9820466726

Click here for working helplines across India.

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