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5 years after killer’s suicide,SC rejects his plea

The Supreme Court on April 7 refused any leniency to “serial killer” ‘Ripper’ Chacko,sentenced to three separate life terms in jail.

Written by Krishnadas Rajagopal | New Delhi |
April 12, 2010 2:23:40 am

The Supreme Court on April 7 refused any leniency to “serial killer” ‘Ripper’ Chacko,sentenced to three separate life terms in jail. A Division Bench led by Justice H S Bedi,while deciding a five-year-old petition filed by Chacko (Convict No 8735) from his cell at Kannur Central Jail in Kerala,directed him to serve his full life imprisonment unless the state government remits his sentence,if ever.

But Ripper Chacko had already chosen death by hanging himself with a plastic rope tied to a ventilator in his prison cell at block number 10 on November 24,2005. Kallumthottiyil Varki Chacko alias Kunhu,aged 60,opted for death instead of fighting a losing battle with cancer in jail. Also,three “consecutive” life terms meant approximately over 200 years in prison for him.

He was involved in 13 murders and over a 100 burglaries. Police diaries say his signature style was to bludgeon his victims with the blunt end of an axe. Case records in the Supreme Court refer to how he once killed a victim for a wrist watch.

Yet on Wednesday,the fact of Chacko’s suicide seems to have clearly escaped the attention of the apex court,the Kerala Government and even advocate Shekhar Prit Jha,the amicus curiae appointed to represent the convict.

Chacko had filed his petition in February 2005,only months before his suicide,praying to the court for leniency. “Now I apologise for the offences committed. My that part of life,full of unpredictable temperaments,has been demolished,” he wrote to the Supreme Court.

One of the three cases dealt with the murders of Thomas,his wife and their four children in Kottayam district on December 20,1988. They were all bludgeoned to death. Chacko took away a gold chain and two gold bangles as his booty. “He is what you call a serial killer,” said advocate G Prakash,state counsel for Kerala.

Though the Kottayam District Sessions Court sentenced him to life imprisonment for the murders,the Kerala High Court in 2000 called the murders “gruesome and an act of perversion” and awarded him death penalty. But Chacko appealed to the Supreme Court,which reduced the sentence back to life imprisonment.

This relief from the Supreme Court coupled with his acquittal by a Tamil Nadu court in a murder case in the tea estates of Nilgiri had prompted Chacko to return to the Kerala High Court.

His demands,besides leniency,was that his life imprisonments instead of running “consecutively” should be served “concurrently”. As per the law,a person undergoing multiple life sentences should serve them “one after the other,immediately”.

Secondly,he wanted the 11 years he spent in prison for the Nilgiri case to be set off or deducted from his life terms in the three Kerala murder cases.

The High Court on April 9,2003 refused. It said Chacko would not get any “practical benefit” out of a ruling as a “life imprisonment ends only with his death” and he was facing three.

Consequently,he challenged the HC’s take in the Supreme Court in February 2005,but apparently did not wait for the apex court’s decision on his future.

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