Kerala HC clears state Congress chief K Sudhakaran in conspiracy case to kill CPI(M)’s EP Jayarajan; LDF Convener to appeal against order

The high court discharged Sudhakaran saying that the allegations of criminal conspiracy were already investigated by Andhra Pradesh police.

BySouth First Desk

Published May 21, 2024 | 2:07 PM Updated May 21, 2024 | 6:36 PM

K Sudhakaran governor senate nominations

The Kerala High Court on Tuesday, 21 May, discharged KPCC chief K Sudhakaran from a case accusing him of conspiring to kill some senior CPI(M) leaders, including present LDF convener EP Jayarajan back in 1995.

The high court discharged Sudhakaran and another accused in the case, Rajeevan, saying that the allegations of criminal conspiracy against them were already investigated by Andhra Pradesh police and therefore, a second FIR registered in Kerala on the same accusations was not justified.

A case of criminal conspiracy and attempted murder was initially registered in Andhra Pradesh as Jayarajan was shot at and injured when the train he was travelling in was passing through the Chirala area of that state.

Justice Ziyad Rahman AA said that as the prosecution stories in both FIRs shared a single platform and the allegations were against the same persons, therefore, the case registered in Kerala has to be treated as a second FIR which is barred under the law.

Also Read: 2016 rape and murder of Dalit law student: Kerala High Court upholds death sentence

Congress welcomes court order

The Congress welcomed the High Court decision and claimed that the case against Sudhakaran was a deliberate conspiracy to “politically destroy” him.

Speaking to the media, Sudhakaran said, “I am very happy with the judgment of the high court. For some time now, I have been hunted down by this fictitious story which tried to portray me as a criminal.”

He further added, “This case was like a sword hanging over my head. They (CPIM) made me a suspect, a criminal, a criminal leader for a non-existent crime. I am happy that their plot went down like nine pins today.”

“The High Court’s order is a blow to the political moves of the Left and the BJP to destroy me politically,” Sudhakaran contended.

Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly VD Satheesan too welcomed the High Court’s order and claimed that it indicated a conspiracy by the CPI(M) to implicate its opponents in criminal cases for political gains.

Satheesan also said if Jayarajan was allegedly claiming that the prosecution failed to convince the court, then he was blaming Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

Also Read: LDF government in Kerala hits three-year mark in office

The plea

The Kerala High Court order came on a plea moved by Sudhakaran and Rajeev against a 2016 decision of a Judicial First Class Magistrate (JFCM) court rejecting their prayer to discharge them from the case.

Allowing their appeal against the JFCM court order the Kerala High Court further noted that since there is a specific bar in instituting the second FIR, the “prosecution against the petitioners (Sudhakaran and Rajeev) are vitiated, as it violates the rights of the petitioners including their fundamental right under Article 21 of the Constitution of India”.

“Therefore, it has to be held that the registration of FIR in Crime No. 148/1997 (in Kerala) was not at all justifiable and consequently, all further proceedings pursuant to the same are also not legally sustainable,” the HC said.

It also said that from the case records of the proceedings in Andhra Pradesh, the conspiracy charges were investigated and while a further probe was proposed against the petitioners, they were never chargesheeted.

Also Read: Kerala outrage over CPI(M) honouring bomb-makers with memorial

Cites lack of proper investigation

“However, even if the same is treated as an instance of lack of proper investigation, still, the same would not justify the registration of a second FIR, but on the other hand, at the most, it could be a case where orders for further investigation in Crime 14/1995 of Chirala Railway Police Station should have been sought,” it said.

The second FIR in Kerala was registered on Jayarajan’s complaint alleging that Sudhakaran and other accused met at Thycaud Guest House in Thiruvananthapuram back in 1995 and conspired to do away with the leaders of the CPI(M).

In furtherance of the alleged conspiracy, revolvers were procured and one of the guns was used by one of the accused to shoot Jayarajan, the prosecution had claimed.

One of the two accused, who were arrested by Andhra police in the case, was initially convicted by a Principal Assistant Sessions Court there for conspiracy and attempted murder.

But an appellate court there had later found him not guilty of conspiracy and attempted murder and only convicted him under the Arms Act. The other accused, who allegedly shot at Jayarajan, in that case, died before he faced trial.

Also Read: Arrested man admitted to having trafficked Indians abroad for organ harvesting, say police

‘Will appeal against High Court order’

Meanwhile, Jayarajan on Tuesday said that he intends to appeal against the Kerala High Court order discharging Sudhakaran in the case.

Jayarajan said that he would also request the Kerala government to file an appeal against the High Court’s decision in the Supreme Court. “The accused should be punished for their crimes, no matter how many years it takes,” he said while speaking to reporters in the state capital.

Jayarajan alleged that the conspiracy behind the attack was hatched in Delhi and Kerala and the actual target was Pinarayi Vijayan. He further alleged that Sudhakaran was the mastermind and that the KPCC chief always manages to “escape” from such cases.

The LDF convener also said that he needs to examine whether the prosecution and his lawyer were able to present his side and the evidence before the High Court properly.

Sudhakaran said if Jayarajan or the state government wanted to appeal in the Supreme Court against the High Court order, they were welcome to do so. “I will fight it out there also,” he said.

Jayarajan has alleged that Sudhakaran and other accused met at Thycaud Guest House in Thiruvananthapuram back in 1995 and conspired to do away with the leaders of the CPI(M).

The CPI(M) veteran was shot at and injured when he was travelling by train from Delhi to Kerala, when the train was passing through Chirala in Andhra Pradesh.

Jayarajan has alleged that RSS contract killers were hired to carry out the work and on being caught after the shooting, they named Sudhakaran as the mastermind.

(With PTI inputs)