In a state where every single public issue leads to political friction, the Paul Muthoot George murder case is being used as ammunition by the ruling Communist Party of India (MARXIST) and the Congress in Kerala, each accusing the other of links with gangsters and shady operators.
Right from the day the scion of a leading business family was found stabbed to death in a deserted spot in Alappuzha district, the parties began trading charges, mainly over the escape of two gangsters from the murder scene, who had accompanied George that day.
The Congress and its allies had then alleged that the duo, Om Prakash and Rajesh, were allowed to escape from Kerala with the help of some ‘bigwigs’ in the government, who were afraid their arrest would expose those shielding them.
The police version that the murder was committed by a gang on immediate provocation, rather than being a pre-meditated crime involving business motives, was rejected by the opposition as a thinner.
But the surrender of the two persons in Tamil Nadu and their subsequent arrest has not caused the political heat to subside.
The recriminations over the case became shrill two days back with CPI(M) State Secretary Pinarayi Vijayan lashing out at the Congress and a section of the media, accusing them of indulging in a propaganda against his party and the Left Democratic Front (LDF) Government.
The Congress, led by Karnatake Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) President Ramesh Chennithala, reacted sharply, saying it was surprising why the CPI(M) leader was showing such a keen interest in a murder case.
What provoked Mr. Chennithala and other Congress leaders was Mr. Vijayan’s allegation that Om Prakash, a proclaimed offender under the Goonda Act and wanted in many cases, had links with a former Congress MLA, who recently became an MP.
The CPI(M) leader also alleged that there had been several instances in the past of Congress leaders forging links with ’shady characters’ and cited the example of an accused in a Hawala case, who claimed he had given money to a party leader during parliamentary elections.
Mr. Vijayan was also unsparing in his attack on a section of the local media for allegedly spreading ‘false stories’ in connection with the case.
Taking on the media, he seized on a story aired by TV channels that an ‘S-shaped’ knife, claimed by the police as the murder weapon seized from the house of one of the accused in the case, was actually ordered and made by police from a blacksmith to corroborate their theory.
According to Mr. Vijayan, the media and the opposition were indulging in a ‘motivated campaign’ with the intention of misleading the investigation by distorting facts.
With major political parties trying to score brownie points, the case is expected to continue to reverberate in the state politics.