A Congress MLA in Kerala was today arrested on a rape charge filed against him on the basis of a woman’s complaint, in an embarassment to the opposition party. The first time MLA, M Vincent, who represents Kovalam constituency, was booked for alleged rape, stalking and abetment to suicide of a housewife at nearby Balaramapuram. Vincent has maintained throughout that the allegation against him was baseless and was “politically motivated.” “The MLA has been arrested in the case,” Kollam Police Commissioner Ajeetha Begum, who is heading the investigation team, told PTI. The case was registered against the legislator for alleged rape, stalking and abetment to suicide, police sources said. The incident came to light on July 19 after the 51-year-old woman attempted suicide by consuming an overdose of pills and her husband filed a police complaint against the MLA, alleging that he used to repeatedly call her over the phone and harass her.
Police said the MLA had allegedly made more than 900 calls to the lady in the past few months. She later filed a statement before the magistrate and police, levelling serious allegation of rape against the MLA. Police had questioned Vincent for over three hours at the MLA’s hostel here after which he was arrested. Reacting to the arrest, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said government was committed to provide equal justice and protection to women. “Government will ensure that the accused, however high, will get the punishment he deserves,” he told reporters at Delhi.
No mercy would be shown to those committing atrocities against women, he said, adding the government views such cases very seriously. The development, which has stunned the Opposition Congress-led UDF, comes hardly a week before the state assembly is to meet. Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala and former KPCC President K Muraleedharan said that a transparent and impartial probe was needed. Kerala Women’s Commission chairperson M C Josephine said the statement of the woman victim was very clear.
In such cases, the statement of the victim is important. The MLA also moved an anticipatory bail before a court here today. Activists of DYFI, the youth wing of CPI(M), took out a march demanding his resignation and burnt his effigy in front of the MLA hostel here. The CPI(M) has also said that the party would launch agitations till he resigns and also boycott his public functions in his constituency.