Life term for ex-cop in Naxalite murder case

The prosecution had sought death penalty for 74-year-old Lakshmana claiming that it was a very rare case of  the police shooting a person dead in custody. However, CBI judge Vijaya Kumar said that this was not the rarest of rare cases and that the age of the accused had to be taken into consideration. The judge granted Lakshmana’s plea that he be sent to the central jail in Thiruvananthapuram.

Both the brothers of Varghese as well as other relatives were present when the sentence was read by the judge. One of the brothers, Thomas, said that while he was happy with the sentence, the political class which had then directed the police action behind the scenes had gone scot-free.

Activists of CPI-ML (Red Flag) raised slogans against Lakshmana when he was taken to jail. Varghese was gunned down in the Thirunelli forests on February 18, 1970, in “an encounter”. However, former CRPF constable P  Ramachandran Nair revealed in 1998 that he had himself shot Varghese dead on the orders of the then SP P Vijayan and DySP K Lakshmana.

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