Kerala minister granted bail in SMS case

A local court on Saturday granted bail to a Kerala minister in a case relating to sending blank SMSes to a woman from his mobile phone.

The first class magistrate court at Thodupuzha in Idukki district granted bail to Water Resources Minister P. J. Joseph. Joseph, who was present in court in response to an earlier summon to appear before it, refused to talk to the media.

The summons were sent based on the complaint of the woman, who accused Joseph of repeatedly sending ‘blank’ SMSes to her from his cellphone. She had allegedly received the name, spelt as ‘Josap’, on her phone when he was an MLA representing Thodupuzha.

The minister had alleged that the case was part of a political conspiracy to tarnish his image.

Joseph, a Kerala Congress (M) member, was discharged four years back in a case of alleged misbehaviour with a woman air passenger. The minister, whose party was earlier a component of LDF, had to step down from the V. S. Achuthanandan Cabinet in 2007 after he faced charges of misbehaving with a woman passenger on a Chennai-Kochi flight, but was acquitted in 2009.

The SMS case against him was taken up suo moto by the magistrate based on statements taken from witnesses. The case has been registered under Section 511 (moral guilt) of IPC and Section 6 of the Information Technology Act.

About a year back, he disbanded his Kerala Congress (J) and joined Kerala Congress (M) faction to become part of UDF.

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