In a U-turn, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Wednesday wrote to Union Home Minister Amit Shah urging him to direct the NIA to handover the probe in the case relating to the arrest of two CPI(M) student activists under the UAPA back to Kerala police.
The letter to Shah comes a day after Vijayan strongly defended in the state assembly the NIA’s decision to take over UAPA cases against the activists Alan Shuhaib and Taha Fazal.
In a letter to Shah, Vijayan said: “I request you to kindly give appropriate directions and grant approval to the National Investigating Agency for handing over the case back to the Kerala Police to carry on with the investigations which were being effectively carried out.”
Referring to a judgment of Bombay High Court relating to a case involving Bhopal BJP MP, Pragya Singh Thakur, Vijayan said though the instant case constitutes a scheduled offence, it was not having the gravity of the offence which is of a high degree requiring taking over by the NIA.
On Wednesday, the Chief Minister informed the House that he has written to the Union Home Minister seeking handing over the case back to Kerala police.
Vijayan had on Tuesday told the Assembly that some terrorists “operating in the state” have connections with Maoists and asked the Congress not to glorify the ultras.
He made the remarks while opposing a notice for an adjournment motion sought to be moved by the opposition UDF against slapping of cases against two students under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) for their alleged Maoist links and the NIA probe.
However, in the letter to Shah, the Chief Minister said the state government was of the opinion that taking over of investigation by the NIA at a stage when the Kerala police has been effectively investigating the case was “quite unwarranted.”
“None of the ingredients mentioned in the statement of objects and reasons of the NIA Act appears to be relevant in the instant case,” he said in the letter.
The chief minister had earlier said investigation in the cases were taken over by the National Investigation Agency on the union Home ministry’s direction which invited a strong reaction from the leader of the opposition in the state assembly Ramesh Chennithala.
“Why can’t the chief minister approach Amit Shah seeking withdrawal of UAPA against these two students. It is better than falling at the feet of the Governor,” Chennithala had said in the assembly, mocking Vijayan.
He was apparently referring to the recent exchanges between the governor and LDF government over the latter’s stand on the Citizenship Amendment Act.
After Khan read the reference to the anti-CAA resolution in his policy address to the assembly last week despite disagreeing with it, Chennithala had said the government and the Governor had come to a “truce”.
In his letter to Shah, Vijayan said the opposition had expressed the view that the case should be investigated by the Kerala police.
“This reveals a consensual view in favour of continued investigation by the Kerala police.
The legal advice received by the government of Kerala also favours retention of the case with Kerala police,” he added.
Fazal and Suhaib, students of journalism and law respectively and the CPI(M)’s branch committee members were arrested in Kozhikode on November 2 last year, with the action drawing widespread criticism in the Left-ruled state.