Senior advocate CP Udayabhanu was denied anticipatory bail by the Kerala High Court on Tuesday, in connection with the murder of a real estate broker in Thrissur’s Chalakudy in September.
Pronouncing the order, Justice Hariprasad said that the material placed on record by the police indicated that Udayabhanu was involved with the other accused in the case, and a deeper investigation into his role was required.
The prosecution had relied on Udayabhanu’s call records to show that he was in constant touch with the other accused in the case around the time when the deceased was last seen alive. Accepting this argument, the court said, “This is a case where custodial interaction is essential. The link between the petitioner (Udayabhanu) and the accused 5 and 6 has to be established.”
The court order also reaffirmed the principle that no one is above the law. “Petitioner is not entitled to get a pre arrest bail order. “Be you ever so high, the law is always above you” is an unquestionable proposition,” the court said.
Rajeev, the deceased real estate broker, had earlier filed a petition seeking police protection in the HC, alleging that he had been facing threats from goons deployed by Udayabhanu because of a dispute over a real estate deal.
On September 30, Rajeev was found dead in a building.
After he was listed as the seventh accused in the case, Udayabhanu filed a bail plea with the HC. In his bail application, Udayabhanu said that Rajeev had offered to help him purchase a mango orchard in Palakkad and took an amount of Rs 11.5 lakh from him. Udayabhanu later realised that he had been cheated by Rajeev and filed a complaint with the Aluva police.
He also alleged in the petition that Rajeev and his son raised fake allegations that Udayabhanu had threatened Rajeev.
The prosecution, on the other hand, argued that Udayabhanu had broken the terms and conditions of a real estate deal, which then failed. Following this, Udayabhanu developed an enmity with Rajeev.
Initially, the case was being heard by Justice Ubaid, who passed an interim order preventing the police from arresting Udayabhanu. The police then informed the court that it was impossible to continue the probe without Udayabhanu’s arrest. Soon after this, Justice Ubaid recused himself from the case, and it came before Justice Hariprakash.
Significantly, Udayabhanu has served as the Special Public Prosecutor in several prominent cases, including the Chandrabose murder case, in which the beedi tycoon Muhammed Nisham was convicted and sentenced to a life term.
Udayabhanu is also currently serving as the SPP in the Jishnu Pranoy case, in which a Nehru Engineering College student committed suicide after alleged torture by college authorities in Thrissur’s Pamapady. Following developments in the current case, reports say that Udayabhanu is likely to be removed from the Jishnu Pranoy case.