Aji of Attippara scheduled to appear before court today
The trial in the case relating to the murder of alleged gangster ‘Aprani’ Krishnakumar on the national highway bypass near Chakka on February 20, 2007, took a new turn on Thursday when the wife of one of the prosecution witnesses lodged a police complaint that her husband was “mysteriously” missing since Tuesday.
The police identified the “missing person” as Aji of Attippara. The Poojappura police have registered a case in this connection. Investigators said Aji was scheduled to appear for trial on Friday.
In 2007, Aji had deposed on his own before a magistrate that some businessmen, who used a multi-crore government contract to dredge the Parvathy Puthanar as a pretext to illegally extract construction-grade sand from the heavily polluted canal, had viewed Krishnakumar as an impediment to their interests. He also identified the businessmen who were made accused in the case.
Krishnakumar’s father who deposed before the court on Thursday identified both the men and raised similar allegations against them.
When the trial began on August 21, another prosecution witness, Ullas, told the court that his life was under threat. He stated that two persons on a motorbike had tailed his mother Santha the same day, stopped her car near the Akkulam bridge and warned her that her son would be killed if he testified against the accused.
The presiding judicial officer, Second Additional Sessions Judge K.P. Indira, warned the defence counsels that the bail accorded to their clients would be cancelled forthwith, if anybody was found guilty of attempting to influence the outcome of trial through extra-judicial and criminal means. She also ordered the registration of a police case.
The accused in the case are Om Prakash, Prasanth, Ambalamukku Krishnakumar, Kochu Vava, Jamanthi Arun, Saju Lal and Venukuttan. Four men wanted in the murder case are absconding. They are Karate Suresh, Peeli Shibu, Three-D Arun and Amir.
The prosecution case is that the accused had killed Krishnakumar, a competitor, to further their business interests in the district, mainly illegal sand mining and levelling of hillocks to supply earth to realtors who reclaimed vast swathes of wetlands abutting the Kazhakuttom-Kovalam NH bypass for construction during 2004-07. For this, the accused marshalled gangsters who had previous scores to settle with Krishnakumar, including his former associates. They allegedly plotted the murder, funded its execution and provided safe houses to the assailants. The prosecution’s stance was that case had a bearing on public peace as the victim and accused were feuding gang leaders in the district’s politically connected underworld.