A special court in Kozhikode Wednesday found 12 people, including three CPM leaders and a seven-member killer gang, guilty of the murder of CPM rebel leader T P Chandrasekharan in 2012. The quantum of sentence would be pronounced on Thursday.
Of the 36 accused, the court acquitted 24 people for want of evidence. The acquitted included prominent CPM leader P Mohanan, husband of party legislator K K Lathika.
Although the prosecution had arraigned 76 people, including 19 CPM men, as accused, only 36 were facing trial. Among the others, 22 were freed by the trial court last month and 15 got reprieve after the high court stayed proceedings against them. Two of the accused are still absconding, while another died during trial. Of the 168 prosecution witnesses, 52 had turned hostile.
While the supari gang was found guilty of murder charges, CPM area-level leader P K Kunhananthan, local committee member K C Ramachandran and branch secretary T Manoj were found involved in the conspiracy. The other two were involved in ensuring logistics for the crime.
Chandrasekharan, who floated the rebel outfit Revolutionary Marxist Party (RMP) in 2008 in CPM stronghold Onchiyam in Kozhikode, was hacked to death on May 4, 2012. The brutal murder — the 51-year-old leader’s face had sustained 51 hacks — had rocked the state.
The prosecution had argued that the RMP had shaken the CPM base at Onchiyam, and CPM leaders had publicly threatened that Chandrasekharan would be targeted. The formation of RMP had caused the defeat of the CPM in Vatakara Lok Sabha segment in the last elections.
The probe into the murder was a departure from police action in previous political murders in the state in which the role of politicians in conspiracy was never looked into and proxy accused were produced by political parties.
The murder had put the CPM on the defensive. While party state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan called him a renegade, his rival V S Achuthanandan hailed the slain leader as a brave Communist.
On Wednesday, when the verdict was announced, Vijayan said the conspiracy to trap party leaders in the case was revealed with the acquittal of three CPM leaders. “But it was unfortunate that Kunhananthan was found guilty,” he said. But Achuthanandan did not give a clean chit to the party, saying that “the guilty include also the party leaders”.
Chandrasekharan’s wife and RMP leader K K Rama said the family would fight until those involved were brought to law. “We are not fully satisfied with the verdict and would go for appeal.”
Congress MP K Sudhakaran blamed the state home department for the acquittal of CPM leader P Mohanan and others. “The probe should be handed over to the CBI,” he said.