Widow sounded, killer plan exposed

The Left government in Kerala has initiated the process of releasing one of those sentenced to life for the murder of breakaway party leader T.P. Chandrashekaran, who died of 51 stab wounds in 2012.

By K.M. Rakesh in Bangalore
  • Published 19.03.18
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KK Rema
 

Bangalore: The Left government in Kerala has initiated the process of releasing one of those sentenced to life for the murder of breakaway party leader T.P. Chandrashekaran, who died of 51 stab wounds in 2012.

The Left government has cited old age to justify its move to secure the release of P.K. Kunjanandan, 70, a local CPM leader. The decision came to light when police went to Chandrashekaran's house in Kozhikode district on Wednesday to record his widow K.K. Rema's statement on the planned remission.

Kunjanandan is one of the 12 men convicted in 2014 of the murder of Chandrashekaran, who was brutally murdered after he left the CPM. All those convicted are associated with the CPM.

Kunjanandan is a resident of Kolavallur in Kannur district, known for political killings.

Rema said until the police came calling, "none of us were aware of" the government's plan.

"I plan to meet the governor and if need be file a writ petition in the high court to stay the move," she told The Telegraph on Saturday.

While state governments have the power to release prisoners for certain reasons, the governor gives the final seal of approval.

"This wouldn't have started without orders right from the top of the government. This is why I have always been saying the CPM killed my husband," Rema said.

Once a firebrand CPM leader, Chandrashekaran fell out with the leadership because of serious differences. He broke away with some supporters and formed the Revolutionary Marxist Party (RMP) in 2009, becoming a pet target of the CPM.

Hitmen hired allegedly by a group of CPM leaders killed him on May 4, 2012, at Onchiyam village in Kozhikode district. The autopsy report revealed that Chandrashekaran died of 51 fatal wounds caused by sharp weapons like machetes and knives.

"After all this trauma, I don't want to see convicts walking free without even serving their sentence," said Rema, who has been heading the RMP since the death of her husband.

"I am told some aged prisoners are often released if they are ill. But in this case, the man (Kunjanandan) is healthy and has been repeatedly walking out on parole ever since he entered jail four years ago," she added.

According to an RTI application filed last September by Rema, Kunjanandan has spent 217 days on parole on 16 different occasions between February 25, 2015, and July 8, 2017.

He courted controversy last November for participating in a CPM local committee meeting while on parole. Opposition parties had raised the issue with the government.

"According to the prison department's own statement, he has been walking out on parole almost every month. And now this government wants to release him for good," Rema said, slamming the CPM-led coalition that rules Kerala.

Calls to law minister A.K. Balan's phone went unanswered. State government sources in Thiruvananthapuram confirmed the plan to release Kunjanandan, but added that the remission might take some more time.