The prosecution in the T.P. Chandrasekharan murder case suffered a further jolt on Thursday as another key witness turned hostile, the third one this week.

As many as 52 witnesses have so far turned hostile. The case relates to a hired gang hacking to death the Revolutionary Marxist Party leader at Onchiyam on May 4, 2012.

Shinoj Thattiyott of Eruvatty, Kannur, was declared hostile by R. Narayana Pisharadi, special judge, Additional District and Sessions Court (Marad cases), after he retracted the statements he had earlier given to investigators. He was to testify against the 26th accused Karayi Rajan, CPI(M) Kannur district secretariat member.

During investigation, the witness had told the police that he had seen Rajan with the sixth accused and one of the assailants S. Shijith aka Annan at the Koothuparamba Cooperative Hospital on May 5, 2012.

Shijith had accidently cut his hand while hacking Chandrasekharan.

Statement

Shinoj had told the investigators that he had seen a plump person (Shijith), whose left hand was covered with a towel, along with Rajan and a driver at the hospital on that day.

However, he told the court that he did not know Rajan and that he had never given a statement to the police. He also did not identify both Rajan and Shijith who were present in the court.

Denies membership

During cross-examination, Shinoj also denied that he was a member of the toddy tappers union affiliated to the CITU, but was a construction worker for the last 10 years. He said he was a member of the Congress party.

He was a co-accused along with his aunt’s son, Nithyananda, who was a Congress party’s panchayat secretary, in three cases of attacking CPI(M) workers.

Shinoj said he was an accused in a case of assaulting a local CPI(M) leader, K. Govindan. Sreeja, another aunt of his, was a member of Pinarayi grama panchayat. He said she was a CPI(M) activist and that he maintained no links with her family.

Examination

Meanwhile, the court decided to examine two more witnesses – Kozhikode Judicial First Class Magistrate P.T. Prakashan, who conducted the identification parade of the accused at the Kozhikode district jail, and Thalassery Joint Regional Transport Officer M. Rajan. This was following a plea by the prosecution. Earlier the prosecution had given a list of nine persons to be examined.