Thodupuzha: Giving more credence to the allegations that the former Idukki police chief acted in tandem with the local leadership of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) in the hill district, it is widely said he tried to frame a Congress activist in a recent murder case. This allegation against K B Venugopal, the former Superintendent of Police (SP) of this district, had come to light amid the row over the Nedumkandam custodial death which ultimately led to his transfer from that post a few days ago.
Venugopal had allegedly hatched a conspiracy in connivance with some CPM activists to frame a local Congress leader in the murder case. However, the plan failed as a court in Thodupuzha granted anticipatory bail to the Congress activist, Sibi.
In its preliminary finding, the court said there was no clear proof of the Congress activist's involvement in the murder.
The SP has not reacted to the charges. Onmanorama is yet to get the police reaction to the charges.
It is also alleged that Sibi, who is a block general secretary of his party, was falsely accused in the murder case after he filed a complaint against some DYFI men who had attacked his house the day, May 23, the Lok Sabha election results were announced.
CPM tried to implicate Sibi in the Selvaraj murder case which was reported last May. It is said the then SP Venugopal went out of the way to help the CPM in this regard. The SP has not reacted to the allegations till now.
The Congress leader had to spend 35 days in hiding to evade arrest as the CPM local leadership and the police authority acted in cahoots.
The case background
The events leading to the murder had their origin in a dispute between two men, Selvaraj and Arul Gandhi, over an amount of Rs 200 that the latter had borrowed from the former. The two persons entered into an argument over the amount on May 23. The dispute soon turned into a scuffle and both men were injured.
Selvaraj lost consciousness in hospital and three days later, his relatives shifted him to Madurai Medical College Hospital. On May 27, the police registered an FIR based on a complaint filed by Selvaraj’s son-in-law Singili. In the FIR, Arul Gandhi is named as the sole accused. The reason for the attack is mentioned as a dispute over money. Later, on the night of June 1, Selvaraj succumbed to his injuries at the Madurai hospital. Within hours, the CPM state secretary announced that Selvaraj was 'martyred'. The attacker Arul Gandhi was branded as a Congressman. The CPM organised a funeral procession and a public display of Selvaraj’s body to establish his martyrdom.
Former SP Venugopal then entered the scene. He personally arrived at Udumbanchola police station and issued directives to include Congress leader Sibi among the list of accused. A statement was also incorporated in the police records to the effect that Arul Gandhi had killed Selvaraj based on the instructions of Sibi. Arul Gandhi’s son Chimbu was made the second accused to give the impression that a gang had attacked Selvaraj. The then SP had reached the police station around 5pm on June 2. The list of accused was prepared after a discussion with CPM's Udumbanchola area secretary. Scenes of this conspiracy, that lasted three-and-a-half hours, were captured by the CCTV cameras at the police station.
Earlier, on the day the results of the Lok Sabha elections were announced, some DYFI members of the area had vandalised Sibi’s car parked in front of his house. They also pelted stones at the house. When their attempt to force an entry into the house was resisted, the DYFI men attacked Sibi’s wife and children. A complaint was filed with the police over this incident which provoked the CPM. Based on the instructions from the CPM, the police began tormenting Sibi and his family.
The court examined the investigation report filed by the police thoroughly before granting bail to Sibi. There was no proof with the police to arraign Sibi as an accused in the murder case, observed the court. It also issued an order which said that Sibi should be given a notice of seven days if the police wanted to question him.
Sibi has now returned to his house but the CPM has filed another case against him which says that he had tried to kill some others in a hit-and-run incident. The complainants are the same people who had unleashed an attack on his house.
Venugopal was later shifted from Idukki over the custodial death of Kumar at Nedunkandam. He is now the SP, Anti-Terrorism Squad.
A week ago Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan took a stern stance against Venugopal over the custodial death of a financier named Kumar and he was shifted out of Idukki.
The CM pointed out that the SP cannot evade the responsibility after it was found that Kumar, an accused, was kept in custody illegally for four days.
It is said Minister M M Mani was not keen on transferring Venugopal. However, after the CM took a stern stand, Mani had to give in.