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After 40 yrs, top cop found guilty in Naxal leader’s murder

Forty years after Naxal leader A Varghese was killed, a CBI Special Court here today found former IGP K Lakshmana guilty of murder in the encounter killing case but acquitted former DGP P Vijayan. HT reports.

india Updated: Oct 27, 2010 15:55 IST

Forty years after Naxal leader A Verghese was gunned down, the CBI special court in Kochi on Wednesday found former Inspector General of Police K Lakshmana guilty. The sentence will be pronounced on Thursday.

Delivering the verdict the special judge Vijayakumar observed: “Truth by its very nature can’t be hidden for ever. Truth which has been hitherto hidden has by now, though belatedly, been discovered. Truth triumphs”. Both Lakshmana and Vijayan in their eighties came on wheelchair in the court when the judgment was delivered. Lakshmana’s advocate said his client would soon move the higher court.

However, the court acquitted former Director General of Police P Vijayan. The first accused head constable Ramachandran Nair died four years ago. Verghese was gunned down by the police in northern Wayanad district on Feb 18, 1970. The police claimed that he was killed in an encounter.

But the case took an interesting turn in 1998 after Nair’s (first accused) revelation that he had shot Verghese dead at the behest of his seniors including Lakshmana, who was Deputy Superintendent Police then. He claimed that when he refused to kill the leader, who was tortured, pointblank his superiors threatened that he would also be killed in the encounter.

Nair had claimed that he made the confession after 28 years to clear his conscience. He said guilty conscious was haunting him all these years. After his revelation Verghese’s brothers and former comrades approached the High Court for a CBI probe. The CBI had charge sheeted Nair, Lakshmana and former DGP. Thirty one witnesses were examined by the court after the trail began in April this year. Verghese’s two brothers and a neighbor who saw the handcuffed Verghese being taken by the police had testified in the case.

Before his death Nair had recounted the entire incident. After Verghese was arrested from his hideout in Tirunelly forests (Wayanad district) senior police officers including Lakshmana and Vijayan joined them. Lakshmana then addressed the constables guarding the 28-year-old leader.

According to Nair, Lakshmana asked four constables to raise their hands if they are willing to shoot the handcuffed and blindfolded leader. Soon Rappai and Sreedharan (two constables) raised their hands. Haneefa hesitated initially but raised his hands later. According to Nair when he refused to raise his hand, Lakshmana, reportedly said many police officials also get killed in encounters and accidents. Soon he realized the danger and raised his hands. Finally the dissenter was selected to do the dirty job, Nair claimed in his memoirs.

A controversial police officer Lakshmana’s name was also figured in many police excess cases during emergency. Based on Verghese’s story many films and documentaries were made in the state.

First Published: Oct 27, 2010 14:23 IST