Even though the Kerala Police have arrested two people in connection with last week's killing of Shuhaib, a young Congress worker, the party on Tuesday said the real culprits in the murder were being shielded.
The Congress leadership said that the arrests made so far were "wrong" and that the real accused were being shielded as "the murder was done by a criminal, who was given parole to commit it".
The police on Monday arrested Akash and Rijin Raj, both workers of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), which heads the state's ruling Left Democratic Front government. Photos of the two with Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Kannur district CPI-M secretary P. Jayarajan have appeared in the local media.
Slain Youth Congress worker Shuhaib, 30, was waiting at an eatery near Mattanoor around 10.45 p.m. on February 12, when four persons in a car hurled bombs and then fatally slashed him with a sword.
The Congress party's claim was echoed by Shuhaib's friend Naushad, who was present at the murder scene. Naushad said that Akash was not at the spot when the murder took place.
"There were three of them who came with swords and Akash was not there; I saw the three young men, all below 30, who did it."
He, however, added: "I do not know if Akash was the driver of the car or if it was he who first threw the bomb."
The friend said that he used a bench in the eatery to save himself from being killed, and managed to escape with a cut on his hand.
Senior Congress leader and Kannur strongman K Sudhakaran, who began an indefinite protest strike, said those arrested were just "dummy accused". He alleged that a hardcore criminal in jail was granted parole to carry out the murder.
"Some more things have been revealed and, in the coming days, we will reveal more. Both Vijayan and Jayarajan are aware of everything in this brutal murder," alleged Sudhakaran.
Sateeshan Pacheni, Kannur district Congress president, contended that the "police are lying".
"This is a well executed murder with the knowledge of the party leadership. Now, both the district CPI-M leadership and the local party leadership are trying to blame each other for the murder.
"Helping to thwart the probe as per the wishes of the top party leaders, the police is playing a double game, too. We suspect that the killers came from jail," said Pacheni.
Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chenithala was the first to reveal that 19 hardcore criminals attached to the CPI-M were given parole, while the parole of a few were extended by the state government in January.
Chennithala said the party had no faith in the ongoing police probe.
"The CPI (M) has now turned into a terror outfit and is annihilating its political rivals. Now that the police has said that there was a conspiracy behind the murder, the real culprits have to be booked," said Chennithala.
Former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, who arrived in Kannur on Tuesday, said that the police probe was wanting on several grounds.
"The norm when such murders take place is, the police sanitises the area of crime and it is kept out of bounds. But that never happened here, which is a grave mistake.
"It has also come to light that a section of the police probing the case is working against the interest of the case," said Chandy.