12 convicted of murder in Chandrasekharan case

Senior CPM leader P K Kunjananthan among guilty

12 convicted of murder  in Chandrasekharan case

A special additional sessions court in Kozhikode on Wednesday convicted 12 of the 36 accused in the T P Chandrasekharan murder case.

R Narayana Pisharadi,  judge at the special court in Eranhipalam, pronounced the highly anticipated verdict that is set to impact Kerala’s political equations and the CPM. The court will pronounce the quantum of punishment on Thursday.

M C Anoop, Manoj Kumar aka Kirmani Manoj, N K Sunil Kumar aka Kodi Suni; T K Rajeesh, K K Mohammed Shafi, S Sijith and K Shinoj, all part of the seven-member gang of assailants who hacked Revolutionary Marxist Party (RMP) leader Chandrasekharan to death near Onchiyam in Kozhikode on May 4, 2012, were held guilty by the court.

For the CPM that has been hounded for its alleged involvement in the murder, the verdict is bittersweet. Three of the party’s activists—Kozhikode district secretariat member P Mohanan (14th accused in the case) and area and local committee members K K Krishnan and Jyotibabu—are among the 24 acquitted.

The verdict, however, also dealt a blow to the party as it held senior leader and Panoor area committee member P K Kunjananthan (13th accused) guilty, apart from local leaders K C Ramachandran (eighth accused) and Manojan. P V Rafeeq and M K Pradeepan are others convicted in the case.

CPM state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan told reporters that the party stood “completely exonerated” by the verdict.

The CPM is expected to mount a campaign against the state home department based on the clean chit given to Mohanan, who was cited by the prosecution as the party’s strongest link to the murder.

“With Mohanan let off, the allegations of a CPM conspiracy in the murder and the concerted propaganda to corner the party have been blunted. The verdict against a leader like Kunjananthan is unfortunate. The party will decide its course of action after studying the verdict in its entirety,” Vijayan said.

The CPM state leadership, however, will have its task cut out fending off charges of conspiracy against three members of the party. CPM veteran V S Achuthanandan, who has repeatedly defied the party’s stance on the case, said the verdict exposed party workers’ involvement. The prosecution claimed that the verdict confirmed the involvement of CPM leaders in the conspiracy. Special prosecutor C K Sreedharan told reporters that Mohanan was given the “benefit of the doubt” and the prosecution would appeal against the verdict.

Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala stated that the verdict established CPM’s involvement in the murder and said the government was considering requests for a CBI probe.  
According to the prosecution, CPM leaders from Kozhikode and Kannur conspired in the murder of Chandrasekharan, who had broken away from the CPM to form the RMP. The original charge sheet, submitted in August 2012, had 76 accused.

T P Chandrasekharan’s wife, K K Rema, saw the verdict as proof of the CPM’s involvement in the murder.

“We are not fully satisfied with the verdict though it proves beyond doubt the role of CPM leaders from Kozhikode and Kannur in the murder. The acquittal of Mohanan and other leaders will be appealed against in higher courts. The conspiracy behind the murder has to be probed by the CBI,” she said.

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