The former Inspector-General of Police in Kerala, K. Lakshmana, was sentenced to life imprisonment by a CBI Special Court on Thursday in the case relating to the killing of Naxalite leader A. Varghese in a fake encounter.
Judge S.Vijayakumar also imposed a fine of Rs.10,000 on him. The court directed him to pay the amount to the legal heirs of Varghese.
Holding that the case did not come in the category of rarest of rare cases so as to attract capital punishment, the judge said it was “an instance of custodial violence and murder” going by the facts and circumstances of the case. The accused, therefore, deserved life imprisonment.
The court on Wednesday convicted Lakshamana (75) for “the brutal killing of Varghese” in the Thirunelli forest in Wayanad 40 years ago. The judge found Lakshmana, second accused, guilty of the offence punishable under Section 302 (murder) read with Section 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
The court acquitted the former DGP, P. Vijayan, third accused for lack of evidence.
The CBI took over the investigation into the case on a directive from the High Court in 1999. The CBI probe was ordered following the revelations by the former police constable, P. Ramachandran Nair, that he shot dead Varghese on the orders of then SP Vijayan and Deputy Superintendent of Police Lakshmana.
Mr. Nair made the statement in 1998, some 28 years after the death of Varghese. Mr. Nair died in November 2006.
Special Public Prosecutor for CBI Vaikom Purushothaman Nair made a fervent plea to award the maximum punishment of death penalty to the accused as this was a rarest of rare cases in which a common man was branded a Naxalite and shot dead in cold blood with his hands tied behind.
After the judgment, the former IGP was taken to the Central Prison, Thiruvananthapuram.