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Senior Kerala CPM leader held in murder case

Kannur (Kerala), Aug 1 (PTI): A senior leader of the CPI(M)’s Kerala unit, P Jayarajan, was arrested on Wednesday in connection with the murder of Indian Union Muslim League youth wing activist Abdul Shukkoor in February.

Jayarajan, the CPM Kannur district secretary, who was summoned by the police for questioning, was arrested soon after his arrival at the office of district police chief and taken to a Magistrate’s Court.

Jayarajan, a confidant of Pinarayi Vijayan, the secretary of the CPM’s Kerala unit, has been charged with section 118 of the Indian Penal Code, which refers to concealing design to commit offence, and is punishable with death or imprisonment for life.

Shukkoor was murdered, allegedly by CPM activists, at Keezhara near Kannavam in the district in February this year.

Police claimed that some of the prominent CPM leaders in the district were aware of the circumstances of the murder and they had sought to harbour the culprits.

Jayarajan was accompanied by party functionaries and a large number of CPM workers when he arrived at the office of the SP, who called him for the second time for questioning.

According to police sources, Jayarajan was arrested after interrogation of party functionaries, including CPM legislator T V Rajesh.

Jayarajan, however, said the charge as “fabricated and politically motivated”.

Talking to reporters before appearing before the police team, he alleged that “anti-CPI(M) elements” in the police and a section of media had been spreading canards against the party.

The party is already on the defensive following the murder of Marxist rebel and RMP leder T P Chandrasekharan in May this year. Several party functionaries had been arrested in connection with the Chandrasekharan murder case.

Then, the CPM’s Idduki district secretary, MM Mani, said publicly that the party had physically eliminated political foes in the past. The party disassociated itself from Mani and also removed him from his posts.

After Mani's controversial comments, police re-opened some of the murder cases and criminal charges framed against Mani and some other senior leaders in Idukki.