Kozhikode: In a major setback to CPM, Special Additional Sessions Judge R Narayana Pisharady on Tuesday sentenced 11 accused, including three party leaders, to life imprisonment in the sensational T P Chandrasekharan murder case, establishing “political animosity” as the main motive behind the “barbaric” act.
The court also slapped a fine of Rs 1 lakh each on CPM Panur area committee member P K Kunhananthan, Kunnummakkara local committee member K C Ramachandran and former branch secretary ‘trouser’ Manojan, who were found guilty of conspiracy.
Judge Pisharady called out names of each of the accused and pronounced the sentence, first in English and then in Malayalam. The prosecution argued that the convicts deserved capital punishment but the judge, while maintaining that the murder was “cold-blooded, pre-planned, brutal, inhuman, ruthless and barbaric”, pointed out that it could not pass the ‘rarest of the rare’ test. The defence was obviously relieved with the reduced sentence but both sides vowed to go in appeal.
The verdict knocked the bottom out of the CPM argument that party men were not involved and that the crime was borne out of personal animosity.
“It is true that the deceased was a public figure in the locality. He was the leader of an emerging political party. Motive of the murder was political animosity. Accused No 1 to No 7 were tools in the hands of the persons who entertained political enmity towards the deceased. But political murders are not uncommon in Kerala” the judge said.
M C Anoop, Kirmani Manoj, Kodi Suni, T K Rajeesh, Mohammed Shafi, K Shinoj and Sijith, who drove down in an Innova and inflicted 51 fatal cuts on Chandrasekharan at Vallikkad on May 4, 2012, have been fined Rs 50,000 each. Thirty-first accused Lambu Pradeepan, who had hid the weapons, was sentenced to three years and a fine of Rs 20,000.
The court has also slapped a fine of Rs 1 lakh on 18th accused Rafeek apart from sentencing him for life. Rafeek was found guilty of murder and conspiracy under Section 109 IPC.
The court said Rs 3 lakh should be paid to K K Rema, the widow, and Rs 2 lakh to son Abhinand, as compensation, from the fine amount. In total, the court imposed a fine of Rs. 8 lakh. But if convicts do not pay up the fine, each of them would undergo an extension in jail term.
Judge Pisharady observed that the prosecution had not produced any material to show that the accused had been convicted in any case and that they were beyond reformation.
He also cited the Supreme Court order in K T Jayakrishnan murder case in which death penalty was reduced to life imprisonment, to point out that the TPC case did not come under the category of rarest of rare cases.
CPM finds solace in lifers
Thiruvananthapuram: CPM leaders spoke in different voices while reacting to the life imprisonment handed out to the 12 accused, including three CPM leaders, in the T.P. Chandrasekharan murder case.
CPM politburo member Kodiyeri Balakrishnan found solace in the court rejecting the prosecution demand for capital punishment. “The prosecution had argued for maximum punishment citing that it was the rarest among rare cases. In cases registered under 302 IPC, the sentence is usually life imprisonment,”’ he added.
On the three CPM workers who have been awarded life term and a fine of Rs 1 lakh each, Balakrishnan said the party would take a decision on going in for appeal after seeking legal opinion. “At the moment, the party has not discussed the matter.
There have been instances of CPM leaders being implicated in similar cases and convicted by the court. The party is not afraid of anything,’’ he added.
When asked about the disciplinary action against those sentenced in the TPC case, he said there was no evidence before the party at this stage.
It was for the first time that so many accused had been released during and after trial. “This clearly indicated the government conspiracy to implicate as many party members as possible,’’ he added.
Earlier, CPM state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan refused to comment on the judgment saying that he would react after studying the verdict.
Jayrajan asks Rema to clarify
Meanwhile, Kannur district secretary P. Jayarajan said the party would continue the legal fight in the case. On K.K. Rema’s decision to observe an indefinite fast in front of the secretariat demanding a CBI probe into the conspiracy angle, he said it was an ‘illegal’ demand.
He also asked Rema to clarify her statement that T.P. Chandrasekharan had sacrificed his life for V.S. Achuthanandan.
My battle not over: Rema
K Praveen Kumar
Kozhikode: “This is most important, this is most important,” said K.K. Rema, wife of slain RMP leader T.P.Chandrasekharan, while going through the judgment that read: “The murder in this case was coldblooded, pre-planned and brutal. The motive of the crime was not any personal enmity.” She tried hard to regain her composure, still could not hide her disappointment over the prosecution’s failure in pinning down the CPM leadership.
“The sentence is a relief at last. However, I will go in appeal against those who have been acquitted in the case and press for a CBI inquiry to expose the main conspirators behind the murder,” she told DC on Tuesday.
After the judge read out the sentence, Rema came out of the court room, looking relieved. When the bench clerk gave her a copy of the judgment, she grabbed it for a detailed read.
She said this was what she had been saying all the time. “The court observations clearly rule out the personal enmity part. None of the accused had any personal enmity with TP. It was a clear case of political murder and the CPM cannot run away from the responsibility as three of their leaders are sentenced to life on charges of conspiracy,” she said. She still believes that the accused deserved capital punishment.
Steadfast against adversities
From a wife who broke down seeing her husband’s dead body, Rema has come a long way to challenge the political might of CPM.
She was quick to point her fingers at the perpetrators of the her husband’s murder and rallied on the streets demanding justice for her husband. Her boldness and perseverance had been helpful in mounting pressure on the police and state government.
Her leadership also instilled confidence among RMP cadre. Now she is on a struggle for a CBI enquiry to expose the real masterminds who conspired to kill TP.
Kunhananthan convicted after 40 yrs of shady battles
Kozhikode: Known as master conspirator in the red fortress of Kannur, P.K. Kunhananthan, 68, never figured in a murder case earlier in his political career spanning over more than four decades. Accused, interrogated and arrested for the first time, he got the title of a ‘convict’ in the T.P. Chandrasekharan murder case though his name had been heard in connection with almost a dozen murder cases in the past.
The CPM Kannur unit and its leading lights know the importance of being Kunhananthan in the party circles of Kannur. Even from the beginning, the party maintained utmost care in protecting Kunhananthan. The party kept him under cover for almost 50 days and also ensured his surrender in the court evading the police eyes.
This soft-spoken comrade was an essential element in the killing fields of Kannur. A good coordinator, he gained much relevance during 1990s when the CPM-RSS clashes reached their zenith.
Police officials like former Kannur SP Subhash Babu called him the ‘uncrowned king in CPM.’
Apart from hatching conspiracies, he also functioned as a ‘liaison officer’ between police and the CPM, arranging culprits to be nabbed, presenting fabricated evidence and arraying weapons to be seized for the police.
Sources in the police said that it was the ‘precious’ service of Kunhananthan that helped save the dignity of many police officers in filing chargesheets in many controversial cases in time.
With the conviction of Kunhananthan, the CPM leadership would find it hard to deny the role of the party in the murder of T.P. Chandrasekharan.
TP verdict may be his last in Koz
Kozhikode: Judge R. Narayana Pisharady, who pronounced the landmark verdict in the T.P. Chandrasekharan murder case, will bid goodbye to Kozhikode soon as his name figures in the list of judges to be transferred as part of the general transfer under the Kerala High Court this year. He will be transferred to additional district court-I, Kottayam.
Despite the sensational nature of the TPC case, he kept his cool and delivered his judgment based on the sections under which the accused had been charged.
He acquitted those against whom the prosecution could not prove the charge and sentenced those whose role was proved beyond doubt. After completing the trial within one year, eight months and 12 days, the special court on January 23 convicted 12 of the 36 accused. Apart from the seven-member gang that hacked the RMP leader, three CPM leaders were also found guilty.
Undoubtedly, this will remain as one of the significant verdicts in his judicial service.
After the Marad carnage case, the TP murder case was the significant one which came up before the special additional court at Eranhipalam. Although four judges handled the Marad case, the TP case came up for the consideration of Narayana Pisharady, who was appointed special additional and sessions court judge here on May 23, 2011.
Hailing from North Paravoor in Ernakulam district, Pisharady entered judicial service in 1986. Till 2000, he served at munsiff and magistrate courts in Thiruvananthapuram, Palakkad, Thrissur, Kannur and Kozhikode districts.
During 2000-04, he served as sub- judge in Manjeri, Kozhikode and Thrissur courts. As he was promoted as district judge in 2005, he served in Manjeri, Thrissur and Palakkad courts.
PIC–T.K.Rajeesh, Kodi Suni, Kirmani Manoj and Annan Shijith being taken away in a police van from the Special Additional
Sessions Court at Eranjipalam, Kozhikode, after court sentenced them to life imprisonment. —Venugopal