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Kerala HC grants bail to 17 accused PFI members in 2022 RSS leader murder case

A bench of Justices A K Jayasankaran Nambiar and Syam Kumar V M also upheld an NIA special court's decision denying the relief to nine other PFI members who were also accused in the cases.
Last Updated : 25 June 2024, 11:55 IST

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Kochi: The Kerala High Court on Tuesday granted bail to 17 accused PFI members in the 2022 murder case of RSS leader Srinivasan in Palakkad district of Kerala, who were also facing trial for allegedly instigating communal violence in the state as well as various parts of the country.

A bench of Justices A K Jayasankaran Nambiar and Syam Kumar V M also upheld an NIA special court's decision denying the relief to nine other PFI members who were also accused in the cases.

The high court's 111-page order came on the appeals moved by the 26 accused against the special court's orders denying them bail.

Granting bail to 17 out of the 26 accused, the high court imposed stringent conditions on them. They have been ordered to share their mobile numbers and real-time GPS locations with the investigating officer.

Besides that, the accused shall not leave the state of Kerala, shall surrender their passports and keep their mobile phones charged and active round-the-clock, the high court said.

It directed the 17 accused to "present themselves before the special court which shall enlarge them on bail on such conditions as the special court may deem necessary".

Initially, 51 persons were arraigned as accused in connection with the murder of Srinivasan on April 16, 2022. One among those arrested died and seven of the accused persons could not be arrested because they are absconding.

Chargesheets against the remaining were filed in two phases in July and December 2022.

While police was investigating the murder, the Centre received information that the office bearers and cadres of the Popular Front of India (PFI) and its affiliates in Kerala have conspired to instigate communal violence and radicalise its cadres to commit terrorist acts in Kerala and various parts of the country, the high court noted in its order.

Therefore, the Centre in September 2022 directed the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to take up and investigate the case against the accused.

Thereafter, by an order dated December 19, 2022, the Centre, referring to Srinivasan's death, opined that there was a larger conspiracy hatched by the leaders of the PFI "which has grave national and international ramifications" that needed to be "thoroughly investigated to unearth the wider conspiracy and to identify the other accused", the HC noted in its order.

The Centre accordingly directed the NIA to take up the probe in the murder case as well, and the agency filed its consolidated chargesheet in 2023 with two supplementary chargesheets later.

It was immediately after the respective chargesheets were filed by the NIA before the special court that the accused moved it seeking bail.

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Published 25 June 2024, 11:55 IST

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