Kerala HC acquits 8, convicts 1 in P Jayarajan murder attempt case

P Jayarajan . File Photo: Manorama

Kochi: The Kerala High Court has acquitted eight of the nine individuals accused of attempting to murder CPM leader P Jayarajan in 1999 in Kannur district. Justice P Somarajan convicted one of the accused for multiple offenses under the Indian Penal Code (IPC), including attempted murder, with a reduced sentence compared to the trial court's ruling.

The High Court's judgment on January 11 came in response to appeals filed by six of the accused challenging their conviction and sentences, as well as the state's appeal against the acquittal of three others.

The verdict was made public only on Thursday; following that Jayarajan said that he feels that he has not got justice. The veteran CPM leader told reporters it is his request that the state should go on appeal against the verdict. He also said that he would discuss with legal experts as to whether he, as the victim, could file an appeal against the judgement in the Supreme Court. The CPM leader also requested that no one should disrupt the peaceful environment in the state following the verdict. The High Court acquitted Kadichery Aji alias Ajith Kumar, Koyyon Manu alias Manoj, Para Sasi, Elamthottathil Manoj, Kuniyil Shanoob, JP alias Jayaprakashan, Kovveri Pramod and Thykkadny Mohanan, who were accused no. 1, and 3 to 9, respectively, in this case. Justice Somarajan pointed out various shortcomings in the prosecution's case and also said that the victim's wife was a planted witness.

"In short, there is failure on the part of the prosecution to show and prove the involvement of accused No.1 and 3 to 9 in the alleged commission of offence," the High Court said in its judgement.

It, however, convicted accused no. 2 -- Chirukandoth Prasanth -- based on the recovery, through him, of the weapons used in the commission of the offence. The High Court observed that the four weapons stained with blood of the same group as that of the victim were recovered through Prasanth. The doctor who issued the wound certificate had given evidence that the 10 injuries suffered by Jayarajan would be sufficient in its ordinary course to cause death, the Court noted. "Hence, there is no reason not to concur with the conviction as against accused No.2 for the offence punishable under sections 452 (house trespass), 436(mischief by fire or explosive substance), 326 (voluntarily causing grievous hurt by dangerous weapons or means) and 307 (attempt to murder) of the IPC," the High Court said.

It, however, acquitted him for the offences of unlawful assembly, rioting and rioting with a deadly weapon under the IPC, saying that there should be evidence of involvement of at least five persons or more for those crimes. The trial court had sentenced Prasanth to 10 years imprisonment for each of the offences under sections 307 and 326 and five years each for the crimes under section 436 and 452 of the IPC. Justice Somarajan said that these sentences were "too exorbitant and do not reflect proper balance". The High Court reduced the sentence to one year imprisonment for the offence under section 307, six months under section 326 and three months each for the crimes under sections 436 and 452 of the IPC. "Accused No.2 shall appear before the trial court to receive the sentence within two months from today. He is also entitled to set off of the period of detention already undergone," it said. The incident occurred on the evening of August 25, 1999 at Jayarajan's residence near Thalassery in the north Kerala district of Kannur. The assailants had barged into his home, thrown two country-made bombs at him and tried to hack him to death. One of his hands was almost completely severed in the attack, which according to the police, was committed by RSS workers.
(With PTI inputs.)

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