In what is seen as a major jolt to the ruling CPI(M) in Kerala ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) slapped murder and conspiracy charges against P Jayarajan, one of its senior leaders and secretary of the Kannur district unit, in connection with the killing of Abdul Shukkoor, an activist of the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) in 2012. The supplementary charge-sheet submitted by the CBI in a court in Thalassery also mentions TV Rajesh, CPM MLA from Kalliassery, for being a conspirator in the case.
Shukkoor, 21, was hacked to death allegedly by CPM workers on February 20, 2012 at Keezhara in Kannur district. Shukkoor was killed reportedly in retaliation for an attack that day on a vehicle carrying Jayarajan at Ariyil. The conspiracy to murder Shukkoor, who was suspected by the CPM to be behind the attack, was reportedly hatched at a local hospital in Thaliparambu where Jayarajan and Rajesh had been admitted for injuries.
On August 1, 2012, Jayarajan was arrested and sent to judicial remand and arraigned as 32nd accused in the case. On August 27, Jayarajan was given conditional bail by the Kerala High Court. Both Jayarajan and Rajesh were accused by the police, who were investigating the case then, of not doing anything to prevent the murder despite being aware of the conspiracy.
Today, CPM state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan responded to the CBI charge-sheet saying that the murder and conspiracy charges against Jayarajan and Rajesh are the result of joint political moves of the Congress and the BJP ahead of elections.
“There will be a strong reaction against this political conspiracy,” Balakrishnan wrote in a Facebook post.
Jayarajan, who’s in his third term as the CPM district secretary, is being talked about in party circles as a possible candidate for either the Kannur or Vadakara Lok Sabha seats. While Kannur, the backyard of the CPM, is considered to be a safe seat, the party is raring to wrest the Vadakara seat, which went to Mullappally Ramachandran of the Congress in 2014. Ramachandran is the present Congress chief in the state.