Nine get life term in Muthoot murder case

Nine get life term in Muthoot murder case

 A Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) special court here on Tuesday sentenced nine people to life imprisonment in connection with the killing of Muthoot Group scion Paul M George, six years after the sensational murder that also left aftershocks in Kerala’s political establishment.

Earlier in the day, special court judge R Raghu convicted the nine accused including first and second accused Jayachandran and Kaari Sathish for having direct links with the murder. Four others were sentenced to three years’ imprisonment on charges of having destroyed evidence. One of the 14 accused in the CBI chargesheet — Aneesh, accused number 14 — was acquitted.

The prosecution case is that 32-year-old George, then executive director of the Muthoot M George group, was killed near Ponga junction between Changanassery and Alappuzha early on August 22, 2009 by a group of assailants following an altercation over an accident. A criminal gang led by Jayachandran was on the way to Alappuzha to execute a paid assault when the vehicle driven by George — and carrying three others — ran over a motorbike. Members of the gang followed and intercepted George’s vehicle; after a scuffle, Sathish stabbed George.

When George’s driver Shibu who was following George’s vehicle reached the spot, the assailants fled leaving George and his friend Manu injured. George died while being taken to a hospital. Two other men who were in George’s vehicle — Om Prakash and Puthanpalam Rajesh, both with a criminal history — went missing and were arrested later.

Om Prakash and Rajesh were listed as accused in the chargesheet filed by the police. However, their names did not figure in the chargesheet filed by the CBI that took over the case; the agency listed them as witnesses.

The CBI had filed another chargesheet in connection with the paid hit-job the gang had committed to execute in Alappuzha. On Tuesday, the court sentenced 14 people to three years’ rigorous imprisonment in connection with the case. The convicts include four people not listed in the murder case chargesheet. The Paul George murder case had also left its impact on Kerala’s politics and is still viewed as having left unanswered questions.

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