Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan announced support and assistance on Wednesday to the family of Sugathan, an expatriate businessman who took his life after the CPI's youth wing allegedly demanded a bribe from him for opening a workshop.
The announcement came after the family spoke to the CM about their grief and uncertain future on Tuesday's morning.
Speaking to TNM, Sugathan’s son Sujith said the CM promised all assistance from the government’s side.
“We met the CM on Tuesday afternoon. He promised us that we will not face hindrance from any political party while setting up the workshop. The CM also promised all assistance and support from the government we may need in the process,” Sujith said.
Sujith added that the family will be going ahead with the case that has been filed.
“Though it is a big relief to get such support from the government, we will go ahead with the case till the culprits are in custody. We are satisfied with the police investigation and they have been helping us all throughout”, Sujith said.
Sugathan, a businessman who lived in Muscat for 40 years, returned to India in January 2018 to start an automobile shop in Kerala. The family said that Sugathan chose to take his own life after being harassed by members of the All India Youth Federation (AIYF), the CPI’s youth wing, who allegedly refused to let him start his business even after taking bribes from him.
After many failed attempts to buy land, Sugathan rented 15 cents of land to start his business. The family claimed that when they approached the village panchayat, they were given an unofficial confirmation by officials to go ahead with the construction of the workshop.
However, the land-use classification was under dispute. AIYF party workers claimed that it was classified as agricultural land under the Kerala Conservation of Paddy Land and Wetland Act.
On February 19, a day after the construction of the workshop was completed, the AIYF planted its flag on the site, which left Sugathan devastated. On February 23, Sugathan was found hanging from the beam of the mechanic’s shed he had built.
The police have arrested three AIYF workers - Imesh, Girish and Sathish Kumar - for abetment of suicide. All three accused are in judicial custody.