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India: All 7 assailants & 3 CPM leaders among 12 convicted for T P Chandrasekharan's murder

by Dilip, 25 January 2014

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KOZHIKODE: With Lok Sabha elections round the corner, the CPM seems to have escaped major political damage when a trial court on Wednesday absolved one of its key leaders from thesensational murder of Revolutionary Marxist Party (RMP) leader T P Chandrasekharan, a killing that had revived the spectre of the CPM's taste for violent political vendetta. 

Special additional sessions judge R Narayana Pisharady acquitted the CPM's Kozhikode district secretariat member P Mohanan while finding 12 others, including the seven-member killer squad, guilty of murder. Chandrasekharan - who left CPM to form a new party - was hacked to death at Vallikkad near CPM bastion Onchiyam on May 4, 2012. The argument to decide the quantum of punishment for those found guilty will be heard by the judge on Thursday. The prosecution and RMP leadership have stated that they will appeal against the verdict. 

Though spared major blushes, the judgment was not entirely to the CPM's liking. The court found three of its local leaders - Panur area committee member P K Kunhanandan, Kunnummakkara local committee member K C Ramachandran and former Kadungompoyil branch secretary Manojan alias Trouser Manojan - guilty of criminal conspiracy. With this, the party's claim of complete innocence in the murder remains unconvincing. 

M C Anoop, 'Kirmani' Manoj, 'Kodi' Suni, T K Rajeesh, K K Muhammad Shafi, S Sijith and K Sinoj, who attacked Chandrasekharan were found guilty of murder. P V Rafeeq, who arranged a car for the assailants, has been found guilty for abetment of murder. 

The prosecution had little to cheer about in the verdict but that appears to have largely been due to its own ineptitude. It failed to prove charges against the majority of 36 accused including for allegedly helping the assailants spot Chandrasekharan, for procuring SIM cards, for helping them find shelter and for destroying evidence. 

The prosecution is particularly peeved by the acquittal of Mohanan, whom they considered pivotal to the entire case. According to police, Mohanan was a participant in the conspiracy at a flower shop at Orkkatteri in April 2012 and allegedly gave sanction to Kunhanandan over phone to go ahead with the plan to murder Chandrasekharan. K K Rema, Chandrashekaran's widow, her father K K Madhavan and son Abhinand were on the court premises when the judge pronounced the verdict. CPM leaders including Mohanan's wife and MLA K K Lathika, C Bhaskaran, K P Kunhammadkutty and A N Shamseer were also present. Only lawyers and media persons were allowed to enter the court hall. 

Mohanan, who was released from jail in the afternoon, told reporters that he has many important things to reveal in the coming days. He said the police had put pressure on him to say certain things while he was in their custody. Of the total 76 accused only 36 faced trial. The high court had stayed the trial of 15 accused including CPM state committee member K K Ragesh and the trial court had discharged 22 for want of evidence. Two accused are still at large and the ninth accused and former CPM Onchiyam area secretary C H Ashokan died during trial. 

Aswanth, the 19th accused, who allegedly made the sticker 'Masha Allah' in Arabic that was pasted on the rear side of the car, too has been acquitted. The police claimed they had presented 'scientific evidence' including call data records of the accused but that seems to have failed to impress the court. 

CPM Koothuparamba area secretary K Dhananjayan, who was accused of harbouring the members of the killer squad, was acquitted along with the party's office secretary C Babu. The only person found guilty of destroying evidence is M K Pradeepan, who concealed weapons used by the assailants.

Also see: 

On 'revolution': Closing the Circle (Frontier Vol 45, No. 7)

A Hard Rain Falling: on the death of TP Chandrasekharan and related matters

JNU SFI unit condemns murder of T P Chandrasekharan

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