Opposition stages walk-out in Kerala Assembly

Thiruvananthapuram: Opposition Left Democratic Front (LDF) staged a walk-out from Kerala Assembly on Monday, accusing the United Democratic Front (UDF) government of dragging its feet on the issue of use of mobile phone by jailed former minister and Kerala Congress (B) leader R Balakrishna Pillai and the slow probe in the attack on a teacher working in a school owned by Pillai.

Leading his colleagues on the way out, CPI(M) stalwart V S Achuthanandan said it was quite strange that not a single person had been arrested and charged even six days after the teacher was attacked.

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy however said that the pace of investigation was slow because of inconsistent and contradictory statements given to the police by the hospitalised teacher.

On the matter of mobile phone use by Pillai while in prison, he said the issue was being looked into by a prison official and if it was true, it was indeed a violation of rules.

Chandy also made it clear that he had neither phoned Pillai nor received any call from him.

Alluding to a television channel reporter calling Pillai on a mobile phone and the conversation being aired, Chandy said that calling a convict was also a punishable violation of rules.

Communist Party of India (Marxist) Deputy Leader and former home minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, however said that use of mobile phone by Pillai was not just a breach of prison rules but also violation of the Prison Act, which bars convicts from sending or receiving messages through mobile phones or any other electronic equipment.

Pillai, who has been sentenced to one year imprisonment in a corruption case, landed in fresh trouble last week after a TV channel aired his telephonic talk with a reporter discussing the attack on the male teacher.