Will CBI bell the cat in Kerala?

Will CBI bell the cat in Kerala?

By Santosh Kumar | New Delhi | 3 September, 2017
CBI, Kerala, RSS, P. Jayarajan, UAPA, Abdul Shukkoor, Thalipparambu
The Central agency has charged the all-powerful CPM Kannur district secretary, P. Jayarajan, for the killing of Kathiroor Manoj.
Politically motivated or not, the Central Bureau of Investigation, by naming a prominent CPM leader as “principal conspirator” in the murder of an RSS pramukh in Kerala, has struck where it hurts the most. The Central agency has charged the all-powerful CPM Kannur district secretary, P. Jayarajan under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for the killing of Kathiroor Manoj, three years ago. Terming the 1 September 2014 murder as a “terrorist act”, the CBI in its supplementary final report submitted to Special Judge-III Ernakulam said the killing was a “well conspired, planned and well organised political murder”. The agency has cited political and personal vendetta as the main reasons for the murder. Jayarajan’s son, Jain Raj, was booked at that time for a Facebook post justifying the murder. “I have been waiting to hear the good news for a long time. Congratulations, dear comrades. Feeling excited,” Jain Raj had posted from the Gulf, underlying the personal element in the murder.

Manoj was one of the main accused in an attempt to murder Jayarajan in 1999. In 2014, over 500 CPM workers of the area had deserted the party to join BJP. Manoj was said to have been instrumental in this and it had angered Jayarajan very much. To add to this humiliation, the deserters were given a rousing welcome under the leadership of Manoj on 24 August 2014 in Kannur. This was when Jayarajan supposedly decided to eliminate Manoj and held several meetings with party volunteers for the purpose. According to the agency, only Jayarajan had a personal grouse against Manoj, whose parents were known party sympathisers. But after their death, Manoj joined BJP, which finally led to his murder. The CBI had arrested Jayarajan for the murder in February 2016, but he got bail in March 2016. However, this time since he has been charged under UAPA, Jayarajan will find it difficult to get bail that easily. Charging the Central government with “political vendetta” against him and the party, Jayarajan said he would fight the case both politically and legally. “The CBI has not followed the basic guidelines of seeking the state government’s permission when UAPA charges are slapped. We will seek legal recourse,” he said.

In fact, murder charges are nothing new to Jayarajan. Earlier in 2012, Jayarajan was arrested in connection with the murder of an Indian Union Muslim League youth wing activist. Young Abdul Shukkoor was murdered allegedly after an open trial held by CPM workers in front of over 400 people in a paddy field in village Keezhara near Thalipparambu in Kannur district on 20 February. Shukkoor had allegedly thrown stones at a car in which Jayarajan, then too party secretary of Kannur, and a party MLA was travelling. The way the young man was tortured and murdered got wide publicity. He was dragged out of a house where he had taken shelter and killed in a “barbaric, Talibanic” style. At that time too Jayarajan was named as the mastermind behind the murder. The police had claimed that the conspiracy to kill 22-year-old Shukkoor was hatched in the hospital room where Jayarajan and other party workers were admitted after the alleged attack. Four years after the heinous murder, the Kerala High Court, following a petition by the youth’s mother that CPM workers were threatening witnesses to change statements, ordered a CBI inquiry into the case in February 2016. Jayarajan is the 32nd accused in that murder case.Political parties get away with murder in Kerala mostly by producing dummy killers to the investigation agencies. Police most often arrest only those identified by the party involved in the murder. Whatever attempts made in the past to get to the root of the murder had been successfully thwarted by the party leadership. This was evident in the murder of CPM rebel, T.P. Chandrashekharan, who was hacked to death by hired assassins. Despite all the efforts of his widow, Rama, who is still demanding a CBI probe, the families of those accused in the murder are being taken care of by the party.


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