The Kerala government was planning to free several convicts, including a businessman who crushed his security guard with his Hummer and a gang that murdered a former Marxist, as part of the state’s 60th anniversary celebrations.
The list of 1,850 convicts, including murderers, the government wanted freed went public on Thursday after the jail department replied to an RTI query sent by a local news portal.
The government sent the proposal to governor P Sathasivam but he refused to clear it and sent it back two weeks ago, the jail department said on Thursday. Sathasivam is a former chief justice of India.
The CPI(Marxist)-led Left Democratic Front government came under attack from the Opposition as well as the wife of TP Chandrasekharan, the ex-Marxist, and have decided to move court.
When the opposition brought up the matter in the state assembly two weeks ago, chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan had denied the list included Chandrasekharan’s murderers, three of whom are from the ruling party.
But the reply submitted by the jail department in response to an RTI filed by a Malayalam news portal, Marunadan Malayali, says otherwise.
The inclusion of beedi baron and NRI businessman Mohammed Nisham, who is undergoing a double life-term for murdering his security guard, in the list caused widespread anger.
Nisham has served only a year of his 14-year sentence.
Two years ago, the controversial tycoon assaulted Chandra Bose when he delayed opening the gates of his luxury apartment complex in Thrissur. As Bose fled, Nisham chased him in his Hummer and crushed him against a wall. In 2016 January, a trial court found him guilty and sentenced him to double life-term and slapped a fine of Rs 70 lakh. The sheer brutality of the businessman’s act attracted nationwide attention.
Nisham approached the Kerala high court six times and the Supreme Court four times to delay the case, forcing the top court to set an eight-month deadline for the trial court to deliver the verdict.
“It is strange the proletarian party government is planning to release the hardened criminal Nisham who has just completed two (ONE) year in prison,” leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala said.
The government would have to explain what prompted it to favour the businessman, the Congress leader said.
The 11 men convicted for the murder of Chandrasekharan, better known as TP, include three members of the ruling party.
“Now it clearly shows the party executed TP and it was in hurry to help the guilty. If it happens, I will start a fast before the house of the CM,” said Chandrasekharan’s wife KK Rema.
Chandrasekharan was hacked in 2012 near his home in Vatakara in Kozhikode district.
The government is yet to react to the RTI reply.
The convicts’ release was planned for November, the concluding act of the year-long celebrations that the southern state is holding to mark its 60 years.