Kasaragod: The family members of the main accused in the murder of two Youth Congress workers near Periya in Kerala's Kasaragod district suspect the CPI(M) had a role in the crime, but almost hinted that he has been a party henchman.
The kin of M Peethambaran, a CPI(M) local committee member who was expelled from the party on Tuesday soon after his arrest, said he would not attempt a crime without the knowledge of the CPI(M), but alleged he would have owned up for someone else's act.
Youth Congress workers Kripesh and Sharathlal (Joshi) were hacked to death by a gang of assailants at Kallyott, near Periya on Sunday. Sharathlal was an accused in the assault on Peethambaran.
Peethambaran's mother Thambayi, wife Manju and daughter Devika said that he would not dare to attempt such a major crime without the knowledge of the party.
“There might have been some local issues or scuffle earlier, but he (Peethambaran) is innocent. He is now confessing for someone else,” said Thambayi.
“The deceased had attacked Peethamabaran on January 5. He was injured in the attack and had to get a metal implant on his hand. He can't do anything without someone's help,” wife Manju said.
“Earlier also he was involved in petty cases, but all with the knowledge of the party. We do not know on what basis the party is disowning him now,” Manju added.
The teenage daughter of the accused is of the opinion that if her father has indeed committed a crime, he should be punished. But she strongly believes that he would not commit such a sin.
The houses of the victims and Peethambaran are within a kilometre radius.
As per reports, Peethambaran had admitted in a written statement that he committed the crime with the support of two others in custody. However, the police will seek their custody and continue interrogation.
Kripesh and Sharathlal were hacked to death on Sunday. Sharathlal was an accused in an assault on Peethambaran.
Kodiyeri refutes charge
Reacting to the allegations raised by Peethambaran's family, CPM state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said the party had no role in the murders of two Youth Congress workers at Periya in Kerala's Kasaragod district.
He claimed that Peethambaran's family may be thinking on those lines but it is not true. The family would have made such a statement after he was arrested in the case. However, that statements could not be taken as ultimate truth, he added.
Henchmen or hired goons?
Police are yet to conclude definitely whether CPI(M) activists or hired goons executed the murder. Suspects in police custody have claimed that it was not the work of a hired gang, but Peethambaran and two others already in custody killed the workers.
Though Peethambaran and six others have stuck to their statements, the police will seek their custody and continue interrogation. The police hope to garner conclusive information after taking Peethambaran into custody from the Kanjangad First-Class Magistrate Court Wednesday.
Though it has been established that Peethambaran was close to all six in custody, including a 19-year old, others’ involvement is yet to be ascertained. Even when injuries on the victims point to a hired-hand killing, there is no evidence yet to come to this conclusion.
More arrests are expected in the double murder case. Leads are hard to come by and the police are depending on suspects’ statements to find clues.
Peethambaran had ordered an autorickshaw driver to kill the two Youth Congress activists, say those in custody. But lack of evidence has forced the police to discard this.
Peethambaran was arrested on Tuesday. Soon after his arrest was recorded by police, Kasaragod district committee of the CPI(M) expelled him from the party following directions from the state committee.
Two others were also detained for questioning on Tuesday. Three others were already taken into custody by the police on Monday. Apart from them, another CPI(M) supporter whose identity is not revealed has also been detained. According to sources, his car was found abandoned at Pakkam, near Velutholi in Kasaragod district. Police are yet to ascertain their roles in the crime.
Meanwhile, the police have not learnt much on the Kannur-registered vehicle seen at Kalliyode on the day of murder.
The Youth Congress has planned a hunger strike to expedite probe in Kasaragod town today. It will be inaugurated by former chief minister Oommen Chandy.