On February 23, 64-year-old Sugathan was found hanging from the beam of the mechanic’s shed he built.

Kerala opposition accuses the Left of driving NRI entrepreneurs to suicide
news News Monday, March 05, 2018 - 19:17
Written by  IANS

The Congress-led opposition on Monday slammed the Pinarayi Vijayan government in the state assembly for "haunting" those non-resident Keralite's (NRKs) who return to the state to set up business ventures.

The opposition blamed the government for trying to hush up the case of an NRK returnee "who was forced to commit suicide after being haunted by activists of youth wing of the CPI".

Former State Minister and senior Congress legislator Adoor Prakash moved the motion, accusing the state government of trying to hush up the case of the suicide of 64-year-old Sugathan in Kollam district.

"Sugathan took a plot of land near his home on lease to set up his own workshop after returning home from Oman. When he got the verbal sanction from the local bodies, he erected a shed there.

"But the local activists of the youth wing of the CPI put up a flag there, stating that it was a wetland and no construction would be allowed there. It is alleged these activists asked him to pay Rs 2 lakh. 

"He knocked every door for justice but to no avail. Finally, on February 25, Sugathan was found hanging from a rope in the shed that he had erected," said Prakash.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan condemned the incident and said three activists of the CPI had been arrested.

"The incident should have never happened. Of late, the practice of putting up a flag where new ventures are coming up does not augur well. Such acts will no longer be tolerated... With such incidents going on, we will reach nowhere. The case will be probed and action will be taken," said Vijayan.

Unhappy with the reply of Vijayan, leader of the opposition Ramesh Chennithala said that he was told by Sugathan's family members that he had pledged gold and got Rs 63,000 which was handed over to the CPI leaders.

"Sugathan's family wishes to see all the culprits brought to justice, but at the moment attempts are being made to hush up the case. The CPI should see that all the accused be ousted from the party," Chennithala said and walked out of the house.

But R. Sajilal, the youth wing leader of the All India Youth Federation (CPI's youth wing) told the media that what Vijayan told the house was not true.

"If one takes stock of the number of instances where flags have been raised, that would definitely go to Vijayan's party -- CPI-M, as it's known to all that its CPI-M who always raise flags anywhere and everywhere," said Sajilal.

State Secretary Kanam Rajendran said that the need of the hour was not to take stock of raising flags, but the rate of suicides in the state.

Meanwhile, the elder son of Sugathan on Monday told the media that his father's leg bore a big injury mark.

"We have taken the pictures of it and handed them over to the police. We want a proper probe into the entire episode," he said.