Speaker thwarts direct confrontation in Assembly between Pinarayi, Rema on TP’s murder

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KK Rema. File photo: Screengrab/Sabha TV

Thiruvananthapuram: Speaker A N Shamseer on Tuesday refused permission to Vadakara MLA KK Rema to move an adjournment motion in the Assembly seeking a temporary suspension of proceedings to discuss the alleged LDF government move to release three convicts implicated in the murder of her husband TP Chandrasekharan.

"Since it has been made clear that such a move had not taken place, and also because there is no urgency involved, I decline the notice," the Speaker ruled. The UDF leaders erupted into a noisy protest and rushed to the podium of the Speaker, disrupting his functioning. With the UDF members in no mood to draw back their protest, the Speaker was forced to rush through the proceedings and wind up the day in minutes.

Outside, Opposition leader V D Satheesan warned of "protests of unprecedented scale" if the government went ahead with the remission of T P Chandrasekharan's killers.

Inside the House, the Opposition UDF was apparently provoked by the dismissive manner in which the Speaker shouted down Opposition leader V D Satheesan. The Speaker forcefully cut off the Opposition leader before he could register his protest in full. Still, Satheesan managed to get in some words.

Speaker vs Opposition leader
"First of all let me point out the impropriety of the Speaker taking it upon himself to reply to an issue that the government is bound to answer," he began. The opposition leader said that he was in possession of the letter the Kannur jail superintendent had sent to the police commissioner seeking details of the convicts to be pardoned.

When he tried to give yet another proof of the move being initiated, the Speaker ordered him to stop. "The Chair has always given the utmost respect to the Opposition Leader but this issue cannot be discussed here," the Speaker said. When Satheesan attempted to continue, the Speaker spoke over him, insisted that he stop speaking and quickly initiated the rest of the proceedings. "You are afraid," Satheesan was heard shouting back. Pandemonium ensued, eventually forcing the Speaker to abort the day.

Had the Speaker granted leave for the notice, the Assembly would have witnessed a direct confrontation between K K Rema and Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan whom Rema considers the mastermind behind her husband's killing. Vijayan was the CPM state secretary when Chandrasekharan was killed by a hired gang on May 4, 2012.

What they were prohibited from speaking inside the Assembly, the opposition said outside. Opposition leader V D Satheesan said that the LDF government had been conspiring for some time to free T P Chandrasekharn murder convicts. "These killers are blackmailing the CPM. The party is living in fear of them," Satheesan told reporters in the Assembly Media Room.

Evidence to counter Speaker
He also sought to contradict the contention made by the Speaker to decline the notice for the adjournment motion moved by Rema, that the government had taken no steps related to remission.

"We have the letter written by the Kannur Jail Superintendent to city police commissioner on June 13. It has the list of convicts picked for remission. The commissioner was asked to submit all files, including probation report, related to these convicts. Among them were T P Chandrasekharan murder convicts T K Rajeesh, Mohammad Shafi and Annan Sijith," Satheesan said.

If more proof was required that the government had taken steps to free the convicts, Satheesan mentioned the statements the police had taken from Rema, the widow of Chandrasekharan. When remission is sought to be given, it is mandatory to get a report from the relatives of the victims. "So it is clear that the government had gone ahead with the remission procedures. And still the Speaker says that no such thing has happened," the opposition leader said.

Th LDF government's move to grant remission was a violation of the High Court order, he said. "The HC has very specifically said that these convicts should not be given any remission until they completed 20 years in jail," the opposition leader said.

2022 bonanza for killers
He cited yet another proof of the LDF government's deliberate attempt to favour the killers of T P Chandrasekharan. A 2022 government order that revised an earlier order brought out by the government in 2018. The 2018 order, issued after Superme Court asked for convict remission guidelines, had said that those involved in political killings should not be given remission for 14 years. The 2022 order took out this clause. "So as per the new order, those involved in political killings can be given remission," Satheesan said.

Further, Satheesan said that the 2022 order made even Kerala Prisons and Correctional Services (Management) Act, 2010, non-applicable for political prisoners. Section 78(2) of the act states that all kinds of parole, remission and leave granted to the prisoners should not exceed one-third of the sentence.

"By making this law infructuous, the LDF government has ensured that nothing will stand in the way of the remission of these convicts who had been given umpteen paroles and relaxations," he said, and added: "The 2022 order was issued specifically with the intention of setting free the killers of T P Chandrasekaran.

5-star convicts
Satheesan also said that the convicts in the T P case were leading royal lives in jail. "They have the food of their choice. In fact, they are the ones who decide the menu. They have the liquor of their choice. Drugs. They are provided with all that they need in jail. They are also allowed to use mobile phones at any time of their choosing, and call whoever they want," Satheesan said. "Except for an AC, these convicts have been provided 5-star facilities in jails,” he added.

He said these convicts were always out on parole, and while in parole were indulging in criminal activities. "One of them out on parole, Kirmani Manoj, was caught in a drug case. T K Rajeesh, who was picked for remission, was arrested by Karnataka police, in a gun case. Kodi Suni was involved in gold smuggling. Mohammad Shafi, another convict chosen for pardon, was also found involved in gold smuggling. M C Anoop was found selling drugs in jail, and he is making a monthly profit of Rs 50,000 inside the jail. Some of them are also involved in snatching gold from gold smugglers," he said.

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