Kerala High Court wants strict laws to curb cheating

Kerala High Court on Monday turned down the bail plea of television actress and former Censor Board member Shalu Menon in a cheating case.

Kochi: Kerala High Court on Monday turned down the bail plea of television actress and former Censor Board member Shalu Menon in a cheating case and held it was high time a special legislation with penal provisions was enacted to deal with offences of fraud.

Though Justice SS Sateeshchandran granted bail to Menon in a case registered by police for harbouring prime accused in solar scam, Biju Radhakrishnan, the court turned down her plea in the cheating case.

After examining the case diary files, the court found that mass scale cheating and fraud had taken place. "The case reflects the ineffectiveness of penal provisions of IPC to curb the offences of the massive cheating and fraud", the court observed.

"It is high time to enact a special legislation to deal with offence of fraud," the court observed.

Pointing out that many IPC provisions are "outdated" and an effective law has to be brought out, the court said mischief and fraud had become so rampant and large-scale in the state that the time has come to have a separate legislation with penal provisions to deal with those who defraud the innocent public with false representation.

According to police, Menon had aided the main accused Radhakrishnan to flee from Kerala on registration of cases against him.

The court observed Menon had close association with him and directly recovered amounts. Investigation reveals the two had mutually agreed to get married, the court pointed out.

The actress had recently constructed a palatial residence and even PWD officials found it difficult to assess the value of its internal furnishings, most of which were imported.Since investigation was in progress, bail cannot be granted, the court held.

The actress was arrested early this month on a complaint by one Rafique Ali, who claimed she had accompanied Radhakrishnan when he collected over Rs 70 lakh from him.

Director General of Prosecutions T Asif Ali, who had opposed the bail plea, had stated there was "ample evidence" to show Menon`s involvement in the case. She had allegedly received Rs 46 lakh and gifts worth several lakhs from Radhakrishnan.

The scam pertains to alleged financial cheating of a large number of people by Nair and Radhakrishnan. It took a political turn after arrest of a close personal aide of Chandy for his alleged links with the fraudsters.

Two other personal staff members of Chandy were removed and state public relations director A Firoz was also arrested in a related case.