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Kerala HC orders CBI probe into Congress worker’s murder in Kannur

The court rejected the CPI(M)-led state government’s contention that there was no need to handover the case to the central agency as all the accused were arrested.

india Updated: Mar 07, 2018 17:08 IST
Ramesh Babu
Ramesh Babu
Hindustan Times, Thiruvananthapuram
Political murder,Youth congress leader killed,Kerala youth congress leader
Kerala high court on Wednesday asked the CBI to probe the killing of Congress worker Shuhaib allegedly by CPI (M) activists in Kannur. (PTI file photo )

The Kerala high court on Wednesday ordered a Central Bureau of Investigation probe into the murder of a Youth Congress leaderallegedly by activists of the ruling CPI(M), dealing a blow to the state government that opposed handing over the case to the central agency.

The court rejected the CPI (M)-led government’s contention that there was no need for the CBI probe into the case as all accused were arrested, saying there were many loose ends in the inquiry conducted by the state police.

Shuhaib (28) was hacked to death in Kannur last month.

Immediately after the court’s order, the Congress demanded resignation of chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who also holds the home portfolio.

Shuhaib’s parents on whose petition the court gave the order also welcomed the verdict.

While opposing the CBI inquiry, the government’s attorney even questioned whether it was proper for a single bench to hear the case.

At that point Justice Kamal Pasha asked the attorney why was the government against a CBI probe if the investigation was on the right track.

On the government counsel’s argument that all the accused were in police custody, the court asked why weapons used in the murder could not be recovered.

The court said some weapons were recovered without the presence of the accused, which led to suspicion of foul play.

The court also made some scathing observations about recurring political killings in north Kerala. It said in many cases ordinary workers were made victims and those planned and conspired such killings were never brought to book.

Those behind such killings were easily let off the hook and conspiracy angle was never unearthed in political killings in Kannur, it observed.

The court’s rap came just hours after chief minister reiterated in the state assembly his government’s decision to oppose the CBI probe into the killing.

Initially the government was willing for a CBI probe but later backtracked following the reported pressure from the party’s strong Kannur lobby.

Shuhaib, Youth Congress Mattanoor block secretary, was attacked by a group of alleged CPI(M) workers with sharp-edged weapons after hurling country-made bombs on Feb 12. He succumbed to injuries a day after.

The post-mortem revealed that he had received 37 stab wounds.

The murder of the young Congress leader belonging to a minority community caused embarrassment to the party.

Initially the party distanced itself from the cold-blooded murder. But all arrested were found to be active party workers and office-bearers.

The Congress also released photos of some of the accused with the chief minister and CPI (M)’s Kannur district secretary P Jayarajan, embarrassing the party further.

Kannur has earned notoriety for clashes between supporters of Left parties and right-wing organisations. More than 200 persons belonging to both, RSS and CPI(M), were killed in the three-decade long bloodbath in north Kerala district.

The district, however, witnessed an attack on a Congress leader after a long time.

First Published: Mar 07, 2018 17:07 IST