Kerala HC upholds conviction of 12 sentenced in TP Chandrasekharan murder

The HC set aside the trial court’s acquittal of two of the convicts, former CPI(M) leader KK Krishnan and Jyoti Babu, instead convicting them under Section 120 B (criminal conspiracy) read with Section 302 (murder) of the IPC.
TP Chandrasekharan
TP ChandrasekharanFacebook
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The Kerala High Court on Monday, February 19, dismissed an appeal filed by the convicts in the murder of Revolutionary Marxist Party (RMP) founder TP Chandrasekharan, and instead upheld the conviction awarded by the Kozhikode Additional Sessions Court’s order. The High Court also set aside the trial court’s acquittal of two of the accused — former Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M)] leader KK Krishnan and Jyoti Babu — and convicted them under Section 120 B (criminal conspiracy) read with Section 302 (murder) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). 

The lower court had convicted 12 of the 36 accused persons, and acquitted the remaining 24. The 12 who were sentenced to life imprisonment later challenged the verdict before the HC, claiming innocence and alleging that they were framed using false evidence. They also alleged bias in the investigation process. 

One of the 12 convicts — former CPI(M) Panoor area committee member PK Kunhanandan — died during the pendency of the appeal. The other convicts are MC Anoop, Manoj Kumar alias Kirmani Manoj, NK Sunil Kumar alias Kodi Suni, Rajeesh Thundikkandi, KK Muhammed Shafi, Sijith S alias Annan Sijith, K Shinoj, Pradeepan MK, PV Rafeek, former CPI(M) Kunnummakkara local committee member KC Ramachandran, and former CPI(M) Kadungapoyil branch secretary Manojan alias Trouser Manojan.

The court also heard appeals by the state government as well as Chandrasekharan’s wife and RMP leader KK Rema. The state government sought to enhance the quantum of punishment to death penalty, contending that the trial court had failed to recognise the severity of the crime. Rema also contested the acquittal of several CPI(M) leaders, arguing that the accused had orchestrated Chandrasekharan’s murder using professional criminals and should receive maximum punishment besides compensation for the death.

The division bench of Justices AK Jayasankaran Nambiar and Kauser Edappagath directed prison authorities to produce all convicts before the court on February 26, to hear them out regarding the quantum of their sentence. KK Krishnan and Jyoti Babu will also face trial on this date. The HC, however, upheld the trial court’s acquittal of CPI(M)’s Kozhikode district secretary P Mohanan, who was booked for conspiracy charges.

Chandrasekharan, who was a member of the CPI(M) before he left to found the RMP, was hacked to death by a gang at Onchiyam in Kozhikode district on May 4, 2012. The prosecution had alleged that Chandrasekharan was murdered by assailants who were hired by certain CPI(M) leaders because they saw him as a challenge to the party's influence in the area.

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