The Kerala High Court on Monday, February 7, declined to grant bail to one of the accused in the killing of BJP's OBC Morcha state secretary Ranjith Sreenivas in Alappuzha last year, saying there was material to suggest the man was part of the conspiracy behind the murder. Justice Gopinath P said he was not inclined to accept the accused man's claim that the only allegation against him was that he committed the offence under Section 212 (harbouring an offender) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) which is a bailable offence.
"Prima facie, there are materials to suggest he was part of the conspiracy to murder Ranjith," the court said. The BJP leader was hacked to death in front of his family on the morning of December 19, 2021, hours after the state secretary of Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI), KS Shan, was killed the previous night.
Shan was brutally attacked while he was on his way back home at night on December 18, 2021. A car had rammed into his bike and as he fell down, the assailants inflicted around 40 injuries on him leading to his death. The very next day, in the morning, several assailants barged into Ranjith's home and hacked him to death before his family.
The back-to-back killings in Alappuzha on December 18-19 last year had rocked the coastal district and led to imposition of prohibitory orders there for a couple of days. The accused had claimed that he was not part of the conspiracy, but senior Public Prosecutor P Narayanan, vehemently opposing the bail plea, said there was evidence that he was part of the plan to kill the BJP leader.
The prosecutor also told the court that according to digital evidence, including call detail records, he was in contact with those involved in the killing of the BJP leader. The High Court on January 13 had granted bail to three of the accused in the murder case of Shan, saying "the only allegation against them is that of having committed an offence under Section 212 (harbouring an offender) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) which is a bailable offence".
Therefore, they are entitled to bail, the court had said. A similar relief was sought by the accused in the Ranjith murder case, but the court dismissed the plea.