Staff Reporter

Thiruvananthapuram: The police have detained four Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh (RSS) workers in connection with the murder of Communist Party of India (Marxist) activist Vishnu, 34, at Vanchiyoor on April 1.

The police said Vishnu and his associates had been intimidating and threatening RSS workers who arrived for court appearances in connection with criminal cases registered against them.

The police said CPI(M) workers, who had a strong presence in Vanchiyoor area, used to settle scores with RSS activists and also their rivals in the real estate and wetland reclamation business who arrived for court appearances. Recently, CPI(M) activists led by Vishnu had allegedly attacked an RSS worker at Thirumala. Investigators said the murder appeared to be “politically motivated.”

Investigators said the attack against Vishnu was planned at the RSS office at West Fort. The main suspect in the case is an RSS activist who is employed as a cashier in a private bank.

The assailants are mainly from Varkala, Pettah and Keraladityapuram. The suspects had fitted fake registration number plates on the motorbikes used for the operation. At least 12 persons are involved in the crime. The police said they were in the process of recovering the vehicles used in the operation.

An official said the ‘hit team’ had carried out a trial run on the previous day of the murder. The police said they had, for now, ruled out the role of alleged gang leaders ‘Attingal’ Ayyappan, ‘Kalpana’ Suresh, ‘Puthenpalam’ Rajesh, ‘Puthenpalam’ Dini Babu, Om Prakash, ‘Vanchiyoor’ Hariprasad, ‘Pettah’ Bose and ‘Luttapi’ Satheesh in the murder. The police said there was no evidence, so far, to suggest that Vishnu was killed in retaliation for the murder of Ayyappan’s associate and alleged gangster ‘Kalpana’ Suresh.

However, the entire conspiracy would come to light only with the arrest of the rest of the accused. There is the possibility that intra-gang rivalry had resulted in the crime.