FIR against Kerala’s Twenty20 chief Sabu Jacob on CPM MLA’s complaint

Updated on Dec 09, 2022 05:02 PM IST

Sabu M Jacob, who heads the Kitex group of industries, denied the allegations, saying since his party was not affiliated with any political party, they had decided not to share the dais with leaders of any political outfit

Sabu M Jacob, executive chairman and managing director of Kitex Garments, founded Twenty20, in Kizhakkambalam Panchayat, Ernakulam district of Kerala (HT File Photo)
Sabu M Jacob, executive chairman and managing director of Kitex Garments, founded Twenty20, in Kizhakkambalam Panchayat, Ernakulam district of Kerala (HT File Photo)

Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala police on Friday registered a case under the Dalit atrocity law against Twenty20 chairman Sabu M Jacob on a complaint by Communist Party of India (Marxist) legislator PV Sreenijan who alleged that Jacob and his party socially boycotted him and did not share a dais with him in August because he was a Dalit.

In his complaint to the police, Sreenijan said that the panchayat president and two others from Twenty20 got off the dais at a function as soon as he joined them and preferred to sit with the audience. This, he said, was aimed at “insulting him” in public. Also, he added, that Jacob frequently made personal attacks on him because he was born into a Dalit family.

Sreenijan, the CPM legislator from the Kunnathunad assembly segment, is the son-in-law of former Chief Justice of India KG Balakrishnan.

Police said the FIR was registered under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 on instructions of director general of police Anil Kant

Jacob, who heads the Kitex group of industries, denied the allegations, saying since his party was not affiliated with any political party, they had decided not to share the dais with leaders of any political outfit.

“There is no insult or discrimination in this,” he said, adding that leaders from other political parties often attempt to take credit for development projects undertaken by the group. “After we sweat it out we will not allow them to take credit like this,” he said, explaining the decision not to share the dais.

Jacob added that the FIR by the CPM legislator was just one more fabricated charge levelled at him and that he will deal with it, “legally and politically”.

Twenty20 is a political party floated by apparel giant Kitex group a little over a decade ago. It first came to power in a tiny village, Kizhakambalam, in the 2015 local body elections. In 2020, it expanded its support base to neighbouring villages.

It fielded eight candidates in the 2021 Kerala assembly elections but did not win any seats. It did, however, receive 14% of the votes polled on these seats and came third on six seats. Among them was Kunnathunad that sent CPM’s Sreenijan to the assembly - the Twenty20’s home turf Kizhakkambalam is part of this assembly segment - where it netted 27% votes, the third highest votes on this seat.

Last year, the Kitex group relocated some of its factories from Kerala to Telengana, alleging harassment by state government agencies.

In May this year, Aam Aadmi Party leader and chief minister Arvind Kejriwal announced his party’s plan to work with Twenty20 and addressed a rally organised by Twenty20 in Kizhakambalam. The two parties have said that they will contest the 2024 Lok Sabha election and the 2025 state elections in an alliance.

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