by Press Trust of India
POTA review committee gives clean chit to Vaiko
In a boost to MDMK leader Vaiko ahead of the elections, the Central POTA Review Committee today gave a clean chit to him and 8 others, saying no prima facie case was made out for invoking POTA against them for a speech in support of the banned LTTE about two years ago.
In its first-ever review order, the Committee headed by Justice A B Saharya directed the Jayalalitha Government "to take suitable steps forthwith including giving instructions to the Public Prosecutor to seek appropriate orders from the concerned courts in the case, in accordance with law".
The Committee held that the speech of Vaiko, who was recently released on bail after 19 months in prison on Supreme Court orders, in support of LTTE at a meeting in Thirumangalam near Madurai did not fall within the ambit of Section 21(3) of POTA, 2002.
According to Secion 21(3), a person commits an offence if he addresses a meeting for the purpose of encouraging support for a terrorist organisation or to further its activities.
The Committee was constituted under Section 60 of POTA in April last year to ensure that the anti-terrorism law was not misused and examine if prima facie case existed to proceed against a person booked under the Act. Under a recent amendment, the Central POTA Review Committee's decisions were made binding on the states.
The eight others who would benefit from this order are - Madurai Ganesan, Alagusundaram, Ganesamoorthy, Veera Ilavarasan, Boominathan, P S Maniyam, Sivanthiyappan and Nagarajan.
Posted April 9, 2004