Rajeesh being taken to Kozhikode central jail on Friday. (PTI)
Thiruvananthapuram, June 9: A Calcutta link has emerged in the murder of rebel CPM leader T.P. Chandrasekharan in Kerala that has already cost the Marxist party much sleep.
One of the suspected killers, arrested in Maharashtra this week, seems to have been a regular visitor to the Bengal capital, apparently to meet his girlfriend who sings at a central Calcutta bar.
Accused T.K. Rajeesh, 32, could be nabbed only after Rubina gave his mobile number to a visiting Mumbai police team that traced the twenty-something girl with Calcutta police’s help, sources said.
Rajeesh has allegedly confessed to being part of the seven-member team that murdered Chandrasekharan and said the killers had been acting at the behest of some Kerala CPM leaders.
The police said he had also admitted to a direct role in the murder of four BJP-RSS activists in the past, including the daylight assassination of K.T. Jayakrishnan, state vice-president of BJP youth wing Yuva Morcha. It is not clear whether he has implicated the CPM in these murders too.
The alleged revelations by Rajeesh come at a time the CPM has been embarrassed by a public boast from a Kerala leader that the party had got many political opponents assassinated in the past and would not balk at doing so in the future.
Rajeesh, a Kannur native, had been missing since the May 4 murder of Chandrasekharan. The trail led the police to Mumbai where Rajeesh worked as the bodyguard of a builder.
Rajeesh went underground but the police arrested three of his friends in Mumbai and came to know about Rubina. Calcutta police sources confirmed that a Mumbai team had visited in the city in the third week of May to look for her.
“We helped them locate the bar where Rubina sang. We also collected details about her with the help of our intelligence network and traced her address,” a detective department officer said. He said Rubina used to dance at a Mumbai bar but moved to Calcutta a year ago after Maharashtra cracked down on dance bars.
“Our Mumbai counterparts said the accused (Rajeesh) visited Calcutta regularly to meet Rubina,” the officer said. “Rubina provided the Mumbai police with vital leads, including the cellphone number of the accused which may have helped them track him down.”
Mumbai police arrested Rajeesh from a friend’s home in a village on the Maharashtra-Goa border.
Rajeesh’s alleged revelations about the BJP-RSS murders have led the BJP to demand a CBI probe into Jayakrishnan’s 1999 killing. Rajeesh has allegedly said that only one of the seven named in the Jayakrishnan murder charge-sheet was linked to the crime.
Seven men, armed with swords and sticks, had walked into an upper primary school in Kannur on December 1, 1999, and hacked Jayakrishnan to death before a classroom of terrified children, who later needed counselling.
Of the seven persons chargesheeted, five were convicted and sentenced to death by the trial court. The high court upheld the sentence but the Supreme Court acquitted four and commuted the sentence of the lone convict, A. Pradeepan, to life term.
In 2011, the then CPM government released Pradeepan as part of a scheme to free those who had completed 10 years behind bars.
Rajeesh has allegedly said that none of the seven accused except Pradeepan had been among the killers. The police in politically volatile Kannur have often been accused of arresting people in political murders on the basis of lists provided by political parties.
Despite his alleged track record, Rajeesh has never been accused in any case earlier. Sources alleged this was because of his closeness to CPM leaders in Kannur.
The CPM has denied any link with Rajeesh. “I am from Kannur but I don’t know him,” Kerala CPM secretary Pinarayi Vijayan told reporters in Delhi.
His arch-rival V.S. Achuthanandan, however, appeared less certain. “I believe that all details in the TP murder case will come out one by one,” he said.