A special court in Kerala on Wednesday found 12 people guilty of rebel Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader TP Chandrasekharan’s murder, delivering a blow to the Left Front ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
The court in Kozhikode (in north Kerala) is expected to pronounce the quantum of punishment on Thursday after hearing the defence and prosecution.
Some of the party’s key local functionaries charged with conspiracy, however, were acquitted. A total of 36 persons faced the trial. Twelve were convicted on Wednesday and 24 acquitted.
Those let off by Special Court Judge R Narayana Pisharadi included CPI(M) district secretariat member P Mohanan, who allegedly conspired to murder Chandrasekharan. He is the husband of party legislator KK Lathika.
Chandrasekharan, once a CPI(M) functionary from the party bastion Onchiyam in Kozhikode district, was waylaid and hacked to death by seven men on May 4, 2012. His body had 51 stab wounds.
The prosecution’s case was that the first seven accused were engaged by a section of local CPI(M) functionaries who plotted to kill Chandrasekharan.
The rebel leader had challenged the CPI(M) by floating the Revolutionary Marxist Party in 2009.
Chandrasekharan had contested the last Lok Sabha elections from Vatakkara seat, where the CPI(M) candidate had to face defeat in the hands of the Congress nominee.
Chandrasekharan’s murder had brought the CPI(M)’s Kerala unit under a cloud. Not only did its political rivals blame the party for the brutal murder, but even Marxist veteran VS Achuthanandan often made statements casting suspicion on the role of the party in the murder.
Reacting to the verdict, CPI(M) state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan said it vindicated the party's stand that it had no role in the murder and exposed the bid by the ruling United Democratic Front (UDF) government and a section of media to make political capital out of it.
Mohanan's wife and CPI(M) MLA Lathika said she had nothing to add to what the party leaders had said.
The CPI(M) is on the back foot in Kerala, having won just three of the 20 Lok Sabha seats in the state in 2009. The party lost power to the Congress-led UDF in the 2011 assembly elections.