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regular-article-logo Saturday, 22 June 2024

Kerala High Court order a setback for CPM in rebel leader T.P. Chandrashekaran murder case

Krishnan and Babu, former area committee and local committee members, respectively, were among those acquitted by the Kozhikode trial court in January 2014

K.M. Rakesh Bangalore Published 20.02.24, 06:48 AM
TP Chandrashekaran

TP Chandrashekaran Sourced by the Telegraph

Kerala High Court on Monday set aside the acquittals of two CPM functionaries and upheld the convictions of 12 others in the murder of a breakaway leader who was hacked to death 12 years ago.

The division bench of Justices A.K. Jayasankaran Nambiar and Kauser Edappagath ruled that CPM functionaries K.K. Krishnan and Geothi Babu too were guilty of the May 2012 murder of T.P. Chandrashekaran near Onchiyam in Kozhikode district.

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However, in a relief for the CPM, the bench upheld the trial court’s acquittal of the party’s Kozhikode district secretary, K. Mohanan.

Krishnan and Babu, former area committee and local committee members, respectively, were among those acquitted by the Kozhikode trial court in January 2014.

The trial court had then convicted 12 of the 36 accused and sentenced them to
life terms, although the prosecution had sought death sentences citing the brutal
nature of the killing.

The autopsy report said the victim had 51 cuts and deep wounds in the head and face, caused by machetes.

Monday’s high court verdict came on a batch of appeals from the convicts challenging their convictions, and a plea from K.K. Rema, widow of Chandrashekaran, challenging all the acquittals and seeking the maximum possible punishment for all.

Rema is the lone MLA from the breakaway Revolutionary Marxist Party (RMP), formed by Chandrashekaran, which has been part of the Congress-led United Democratic Front since 2021.

The high court has not decided on Rema’s plea for enhancing the sentences, which will be heard on February 26.

Chandrashekaran was expelled by the CPM in 2008 over ideological differences, with his new party splitting Left votes and causing the Marxists to lose from their stronghold of Vadakara in the 2009 Lok Sabha polls.

On May 4 night in 2012, he was returning home on a motorbike when an SUV knocked him down and its occupants hacked him to death.

While the convictions of Krishnan and Babu have come as a huge setback for the CPM ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, Rema said the “legal battle is not ending with this”.

“This verdict has once again proved that the main culprit is the CPM itself,” she told reporters, adding that the party had provided all legal support to the appellants and others in the case.

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