Track and field athlete Mayookha Johny on Monday alleged that MC Josephine, the former chairperson of Kerala Women’s Commission, tried to protect a man accused of raping her friend in 2016, The New Indian Express reported.

Josephine had resigned from her post last Friday after facing heavy criticism for rebuking a domestic violence survivor during a television programme.

At a press briefing on Monday, Johny alleged that the man was still harassing and blackmailing her friend, because of which she was constantly living in fear.

Johny told reporters that she convinced her friend to file a police complaint about the continuing harassment, which she eventually did in March this year.

The athlete added that her friend approached the police in Kollam district, but they transferred the case to Aloor, the place where the incident took place in 2016.

Johny claimed that Rural Superintendent of Police G Poonkuzhali was initially supportive of the complainant but later lost interest in the case.

The athlete alleged that the police delayed investigation in the case on the pretext of Assembly elections and the Covid-19 crisis, according to the newspaper. She claimed that the police were yet to collect evidence for investigation.

“The victim came to know later that Women’s Commission former chairperson MC Josephine and a public prosecutor intervened to save Johnson [the accused],” Johny alleged.

On the other hand, Poonkuzhali claimed that she found no lapses in the case, The Indian Express reported. “There is no scientific evidence in the case, as the complaint came [to the police] years after the incident,” she said. “We have to proceed with circumstantial evidence, and such a step would take some time.”

However, she announced the formation of a new team of women police officers to investigate the case. “The case has been transferred to the district crime branch (from local police),” she said, according to The Indian Express. “Besides, allegations raised by Mayookha are being looked into by special branch (intelligence wing) police.”