The Kerala High Court Thursday granted conditional bail to the BJP's candidate for Kozhikode Lok Sabha constituency, Prakash Babu, arrested in a case related to an alleged attack on a woman devotee in Sabarimala temple last November.
He was sent to jail on March 28 by a court in Ranni in Pathanamthitta district in connection with the case. Granting bail to Babu, Justice Alexander Thomas directed him to appear before the investigating officer on the second and fourth Saturdays every month after the Lok Sabha elections for four months. He has been granted bail subject to furnishing a bond of Rs 2 lakh and two solvent sureties.
The court also directed him to surrender his passport and not to enter Pathanamthitta district for three months except for reporting to the police. Babu had approached the high court after a local court refused to grant him bail in the case. The BJP candidate is accused of attacking a woman who had come to offer prayers at the Lord Ayyappa temple in Sabarimala in November last year.
The alleged attack took place amid protests against implementation of the Supreme Court's verdict permitting women of menstrual age to enter the shrine. Traditionally, women in the age group of 10 to 50 years were not allowed to enter the temple as the presiding deity, Lord Ayyappa, was a 'Naishtika brahmachari' (perennial celibate).
Babu is pitted against M K Raghavan of the Congress and A Pradeep Kumar of the CPI-M in Kozhikode, which goes to polls in the third phase of Lok Sabha elections on April 23. He was arrested soon after he launched his election campaign.