In Kasaragod district in Kerala, kins of CPI(M) members who have been in judicial custody for killing two Youth Congress workers in 2019 have been granted government jobs. Wives of CPI(M) members M Peethambaran, C J Saji and Suresh have been appointed at a district government hospital by the panchayat.
Youth Congress workers Kripesh and Sarath Lal were allegedly killed in February 2019 by the aforementioned CPI(M) members and the trio has been in judicial custody since then. As per reports, there were four vacancies for last-grade servants at the hospital. Out of the 100 people shortlisted, three vacancies were given to the families of the arrested accused.
The Kerala govt has been trying to protect the party workers accused in the murder. The charge sheet filed by the state police had named them prosecution witnesses instead of accused, and when the High Court had transferred the case to CBI, the state govt had gone to Supreme Court to prevent it. However, the apex court had rejected the plea by the Kerala govt.
District panchayat refutes allegations
Shanavas Podhur, Kasaragod district panchayat vice-president, said the appointment was not deliberate.
“The posting of wives of party workers involved in the twin political murders was not deliberate. It happened so. The hospital is managed by the district panchayat, but this time we were not involved in the interview of the applicants. However, such political recommendations are common. This is only a temporary appointment,” he added.
Sarath Lal’s father Sathynarayanan condemned the appointments. Calling the appointment a ‘heinous act’, he said, “It showed the CPI(M) is with the killers.”
The previous LDF government had opposed when the families of the two Youth Congress workers had moved the court seeking a CBI probe. The government had spent Rs 90 lakh for hiring senior advocates from the Supreme Court who had argued against the CBI probe. However, the court last year handed over the case to the central agency last year.
Twin political murder
Kripesh, 24 and Sarath Lal, 29, were attacked in February 2019 by CPI(M) workers who had approached in a car. The victims were on a bike when they were attacked.
While Kripesh died on the spot, Sarath succumbed to his injuries on the way to the hospital in Mangalore. The Crime Branch of the Kerala Police had investigated the case and charged 14 CPM workers and leaders for the double murder. But the police had named the prime suspects as prosecution witnesses.
Due to this anomaly, a Kerala High Court single bench had quashed the chargesheet and transferred the case to the CBI in 2019. However, the government refused to hand over the case diary to the CBI, and had appealed against the order before the division bench. After the division bench refused to stay the single bench order, the state govt had moved the Supreme Court. But the apex court also had refused to stay the HC order, and the case was finally handed over to CBI.