Thiruvananthapuram: Congress lawmaker Eldhose Kunnappilly, who is facing charges of raping a 35-year-old woman and attempting to murder her, was granted anticipatory bail by the district sessions court in state capital Thiruvananthapuram on Thursday.

The Perumbavoor lawmaker, who was on the run after the cases were registered against him, has been told to surrender his passport and mobile phones, and turn up before the investigating officer on Saturday. The court has also barred him from leaving the state without permission of the police.

The 44-year-old legislator was first accused of sexual assault by a woman in a complaint filed on September 28 with the Kovalam police station. She later also alleged that he raped her on more than one ocassion on the promise of marriage, assaulted her and later offered to pay 30 lakh to settle the case.

The legislator has denied the allegations, claiming that the case was politically-motivated and that he was being blackmailed by the survivor.

On Tuesday, the investigating team added attempt to murder charges after the survivor alleged that Kunnappilly tried to push her off a cliff in Kovalam, a famous beach destination less than an hour’s ride from the state capital.

The woman’s complaint that the police did not act promptly on her complaint led to the transfer of the Kovalam police station chief G Praiju on October 12. Also, the case was handed over to the crime brand.

During the hearing on his request for pre-arrest bail on Thursday, the prosecution opposed the MLA’s plea saying that besides rape and assault, he was also facing attempt to murder charges.

Kunnappilly contended that he was a victim of blackmail and said the petitioner had a history of filing such complaints against “known people”.

On Thursday, Kunnappilly also responded to a show cause notice issued to him by the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee. The party’s state unit chief K Sudhakaran said a decision will be taken after examining his reply. The party will take action against him if his reply was not satisfactory,” Sudhakaran said in New Delhi.

Some women leaders of the party have asked Sudhakaran to take strict action against the MLA.

The ruling CPI(M) has accused the Congress of shielding the accused. “It is almost a month since the woman raised serious complaints against the MLA and the party is yet to take action against him. It seems it is helping the MLA,” said party leader M V Jayarajan.

By Shadab

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