Rajendran, defence counsel for Manoharan, the second accused in the siblings' murder case has withdrawn from the case citing personal reasons. He was the second defence counsel to withdraw from the case.

On October 30, 2010, a 10-year-old girl and her seven-year-old brother, children of a textile merchant from the city, were abducted by a van driver, who used to transport the children to the school. Originally, the abduction was planned for ransom, subsequently the accused Mohanakrishnan along with his accomplice Manoharan, sexually abused the girl and drowned both the girl and her brother in the PAP contour canal. The bodies were recovered subsequently and the accused were secured by the police. Cases were registered against both of them under sections 120 B (Conspiracy), 364 A (kidnap for ransom), 376 (sexual assault) and 302 (murder) and 201 (concealment of evidence) of Indian Penal Code. On November 8, 2010, the City Police took custody of the accused.

On November 9, 2010 morning, while being taken to the scene of crime to record statements, the police shot the first accused to death. Police said that the encounter was reportedly in a bid to foil his attempt to kill the police officials and escape to Kerala.

With the death of the first accused, charges abated against him and the trial was on against the second accused Manoharan. The lawyers in Coimbatore resolved not to appear for the accused in the trial. Meanwhile, nearly 121 prosecution witnesses were listed and 60 documents marked as material evidences besides filing of a 500-page charge sheet in the case.

However, according to the legal requirements, the District Aid Legal Services Authority appointed a counsel for Manoharan. The lawyer withdrew from the case, following difference of opinion between the defended accused and his counsel, sources said.

Legal Aid Services Authority then appointed another counsel Rajendran, who has also now withdrawn from the case citing personal reasons. The State had appointed a Special Public Prosecutor in the case to ensure undivided attention to bring about a logical conclusion to the case. Investigating Officer in the case, Inspector M. Kanagasabapathy said that prosecution side had completed its work and after appointment of another counsel by the legal services authority to defend the accused, the trial was likely to resume. Now, the trial before the Mahila Court Judge M.N. Subramanian has almost reached mid way and a verdict was expected within the next 40 to 60 days, sources expressed confidence.

Keywords: murder case