Periya double murder case: CBI arraigns former MLA Kunhiraman, 4 others as accused

Youth Congress activists, Kripesh and Sharath Lal (left), former CPM MLA K V Kunhiraman (right). File Photo

Kochi: The CBI on Thursday told a court here that former CPM MLA K V Kunhiraman has been arraigned as an accused along with 4 others in connection with the killing of two Youth Congress workers at Periya in 2019.

The submission was made in the court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM), Ernakulam, by the CBI while seeking judicial custody of the 5 CPM workers the agency had arrested on Wednesday.

The CJM court, allowing the CBI plea, sent the five arrested -- Hari Prasad A (31), Rajesh P alias Raju (38), Reji Varghese (43), A Surendran alias Vishnu Sura (47) and Madhu A alias Sastha Madhu (40) -- to 14 days judicial custody.

The agency, in its remand report, said the offence committed by the arrested people includes criminal conspiracy to commit murder, supply of weapons for the murder and logistic assistance for commission of the offence.

The accused are members of CPM and they include a branch secretary, CBI told the court and added that since CPM was the ruling party, the accused have high influence in society due to their political affiliation.

"If the accused are released on bail, there is every possibility that they may influence the witnesses and hence tamper with the evidence which will adversely affect the outcome of the investigation/trial of the case," the agency said in its report.

The case which was earlier investigated by the Crime Branch had named 14 CPM workers as accused. With the inclusion of senior CPM leader Kunhiraman and four others in the list of accused, the number of accused in the case has gone up to 24.

Of the 24, 19 were arrested and out of them 17, including the five arrested on Wednesday, are in judicial custody presently.

On Wednesday, the five CPM workers were arrested after their hours-long questioning revealed they were allegedly involved in collecting weapons, providing transport facilities and telling the assailants about the travel route of the victims -- Kripesh and Sarath Lal.

The arrests came just two weeks before the expiry of the four months time given by the Kerala High Court to CBI to file a charge sheet in the case.

The former MLA was booked for forcefully releasing Saji George, who was taken in custody by the local police soon after the murders. However, the Crime Branch had earlier told the high court that such an incident never took place.

Two Youth Congress activists, Kripesh, 19, and Sharath Lal (Joshy), 24, were attacked by three motorcycle-borne men while returning from an event on February 17, 2019.

While Kripesh died at the Kasaragod district hospital, Sharath Lal succumbed to injuries on his way to a medical facility in Mangaluru, Karnataka.

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