The Crime Branch are searching for at least three district-level leaders of the disbanded National Development Front (NDF), now Popular Front of India, in connection with the murder of N. Sunil Kumar, a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) activist, who was hacked to death by an armed gang at Kilimanoor in the early hours of May 9, 2006.

The agency has already named NDF activists Shaji, alias Shajahan, of Nagaroor; Ansar of Kumbil in Kollam; Shamir of Pothencode; Pangode Muhammad Shafi; Nedumangadu Salim; Balaramapuram Ameen; and Nasib Pallickal as accused in the case.

Investigators believe the main accused are in hiding in the Gulf. They include a former sub-divisional convener of the NDF. They are wanted on the charge of plotting and financing the “hit-and-run guerrilla style attack” on the RSS man, an official said.

Sunil Kumar was district secretary of the Hindu Aikya Vedi and district Seva Pramukh of the RSSHe was the local agent of the Janmabhoomi newspaper.

The local police failed to identify or arrest Sunil's killers, triggering a year-long tense stand-off between RSS and NDF activists in the district.

A witness told investigators that there were eight assailants and they had arrived in a utility vehicle bearing registration number KL-01-V-1126. (The agency later found out that the vehicle's number was KL-01-V-1128).

Signals analysed

Investigators analysed over a 100 signals that had been received by or emanated from mobile phone towers in Vamanapuram, Ponaganadu, Kilimanoor and Kumbil localities between 4.30 a.m. and 6 a.m. on May 9. They found that Ansar, who used a mobile phone with a SIM card registered in his name, had received four calls prior to 5.30 a.m.. They found that the calls were made by Shamir, who was waiting for the hit team near Kilimanoor bridge, from a cell phone he had borrowed from a relative of his. The conspiracy came to light with the arrest of Ansar and Shamir.

Investigators learned that the NDF activists had killed Sunil in retaliation for assaulting three of their young recruits who chanced upon an RSS training camp at Raloorkavu, near Attingal, on October 10, 2004.

NDF incensed

The RSS men handed over the NDF activists to the police stating that they found swords concealed inside their clothes. The police impounded the weapons handed over to them by the RSS men and charged the suspects under the Arms Act without properly investigating the case. This alleged RSS-police collusion in the locality incensed the NDF workers.

Investigators said the conspiracy to murder Sunil was hatched at the house of an NDF leader in Nagaroor.On February 27, 2006, the hit team waylaid one Siva Prasad, a Kerala State Road Transport Corporation driver, mistaking him to be Sunil. On May 9, the assailants set out from Thampanoor in a hired van. They picked up a few others on their way to Kilimanoor. The Crime Branch is likely to move the Interpol to arrest the conspirators.