Application made by accused in Choriyanchalil Manoj murder case

The Kozhikode Additional District and Sessions Court on Wednesday rejected the petitions submitted by six accused in the murder of Choriyanchalil Manoj, secretary of the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, Payyoli unit, stating that they were willingness to undergo narco-analysis tests to prove innocence.

Judge N.J. Jose also dismissed the petitions of the accused seeking a further investigation in the case, stating that the ‘mere statements of the accused that they were not involved is not sufficient to order further investigation.’

Earlier, Ajith Kumar, first accused; Jithesh, second accused; Vadakkayil Biju, third accused; Nizam, fifth accused; Nidheesh, eighth accused; and Priyesh, ninth accused, all activists of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI-M], had informed the court that they were innocent and that they had been made scapegoats by the party.

The case related to the killing of Manoj, 40, who was hacked by a masked gang at Payyoli on February 12. He succumbed to his injuries at the Government Medical College Hospital, Kozhikode, the next day.

Additional Public Prosecutor P. Ravindranath appeared for the prosecution and lawyers P.P. Abdurahiman, M. Shahir Singh, and K.K. Beena argued on behalf of the accused.

In his order, the Judge observed that the accused had not sought narco-analysis test during any stage of the investigation. Earlier, the view was that narco-analysis test and polygraph examination could be done even without the consent of the accused to ensure that the investigation was proceeding in the right direction.

Quoting the verdict in the Selvi vs. State of Kerala, Supreme Court 1974, the order said, “narco-analysis test technique involves testimonial act as a subject is encouraged to speak in a drug-induced state and compulsory administration of the narco-analysis technique amounts to testimonial compulsion and thereby triggers the protection of Article 20 (3) of the Indian Constitution.”

The order said the result of the narco-analysis tests did not have any evidentiary value and it could not be relied upon whether the accused were guilty or not. “The undertaking by the accused that they are prepared for receiving appropriate sentence if it is found that the test results go against them cannot and should not be the basis for decision in a criminal trial,” the Judge noted.

The order said the accused “will be given sufficient opportunity to disprove the case of the prosecution by challenging the case by way of cross examining the witnesses and by adopting all legally recognised methods. They can add positive evidence at the time of trial.”

Regarding further investigation, the Judge observed that it was true that further investigation was possible at any time even after commencement of trail as held in the Parvathy Amma vs. State of Kerala 2007 (4) KLT 601. “However, when defective investigation comes to light during the course of the trial, further investigation can be possible. But in this case at this stage it cannot be found that investigation is defective in any manner,” the judgment said.

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