In a major setback to Communist Party of India (Marxist) or CPM ruling in Kerala, the state High Court on Monday ordered the controversial 'Periya double murder case', where top CPM leaders are allegedly involved, to be transferred to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), according to local news reports. The court also reportedly cancelled the crime branch charge-sheet on the case, which absolved some top communist politicians but had booked some of its local leaders.
Two youth Congress workers, Kripesh and Sharathlal, were hacked to death allegedly at the behest of CPM in Periya in Kerala's Kasargode district, in February, creating an opposition furore in Kerala. The court order would bring back political murder charges against the CPM back to the limelight, at a time when the party is flexing muscles to five crucial bypolls, one of them in Kasargode, on 21 October. The bypolls are the first major electoral test for the party after its decimation to just one seat out of 20 Lok Sabha seats in May, and is seen as a curtain-raiser for the battle for Kerala's assembly polls in 2021.
The court said that the police officers probed the case blindly based on the statements of prime accused and CPM’s former branch secretary in the locality, A Peethambaran, and filed a charge-sheet based on it, reported website of the regional newspaper Mathrubhumi. “Even though the weapon used for murders were found, but no forensic report was sought immediately," the court said, according to the report.
The duo, Kripesh (19) and Sharat Lal (21), were hacked to death by a gang of assailants allegedly sent by the local CPM members as part of a retaliation for attacking a local CPM member in January. The police probe nabbed, apart from Peethambaran, about 13 other CPM members but gave a clean chit to some of its top faces in the district, such as former CPM MLA KV Kunjiraman and the party district secretariat member VPP Mustafa, leading to opposition charges of foul play.