Staff Reporter

They were accused of abetting the murder

They were associating with anti-social elements without the knowledge of their parents

They helped the accused escape and tried to destroy evidence

Thiruvananthapuram: A city court here has remanded in judicial custody four B.Tech students of Mohandas Engineering College, Nedumangadu, who were arrested on Wednesday on the charge of abetting the murder of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) worker Renjith at Mannanthala last month.

They are Firoz Khan, son of an NRI businessman, Sankar Subramaniam, whose family owns a sweet stall in Valiayasala, Godwin Dennis, a resident of Shanghumugham, and Vishnu Vinod of Vanchiyoor.

Circle Inspector K.E. Baiju, the investigating officer, said the 21-year-olds had enlisted the help of “Velli” Narayanan, a prime suspect in the Renjith murder case, to interfere on their behalf in a campus tiff with their seniors in the college earlier this year.

Later, Narayanan, along with some other suspects, recruited the students for helping them kill Renjith in retaliation for the murder of their close friend, business partner and Communist Party of India (Marxist) activist “Vanchiyoor” Vishnu. Renjith was one among those accused of killing Vishnu.

The police said the students met the main accused at the house of Velli Narayanan on October 16, the day previous to the murder.

The assailants set out from Narayanan’s house in two cars at 4.30 a.m. the next day.

“Hit” team

One of the cars, a Hyundai Accent, belonging to Firoz was driven by him. Vishnu drove the other white Maruti Alto car allegedly owned by a CPM man at Pettah. Sankar and Godwin accompanied the “hit team” on two motorbikes. The cars and motorbikes were fitted with fake registration plates. The assailants carried machetes.

Renjith, who ran a milk booth, panicked on seeing the assailants and tried to contact somebody hurriedly on his mobile phone. He could never make that call.

Mr. Baiju said “Ambalamukku” Krishnakumar and another unidentified person also participated in the killing. Krishnakumar sustained a fracture in the melee and Firoz drove him to a private hospital in Tamil Nadu for treatment.

In Bangalore

He also gave the suspects his car to escape to Bangalore and later went there to collect it. Vishnu parked the other car inside the court complex. The students attempted to destroy evidence in the vehicles. Forensic experts later found blood stains, hair follicles and other genetic evidence in one of the cars.

The police said the students had been associating with anti-social elements without the knowledge of their parents.

One of them had left home on the night of October 16 after telling his mother that he was going to a friend’s place for studying.

The students had visited Narayanan, who they seemed to adore, when he was in prison on the charge of attempting to kill RSS activist Mohanan.

The police had earlier arrested “Vanchiyoor” Hariprasad, “Chukkran” Renjith and “Motta” Aji, all low ranking CPM leaders, in connection with the murder. They were searching for alleged gang leader “Karate” Suresh on the charge of plotting the crime.

The main accused in the case were Vishnu’s partners in the lucrative business of selling earth from razed hillocks to realtors reclaiming wetlands for construction. They also had interests in the thriving real estate business in the district.

The police said the accused had a personal score to settle with Vishnu’s killers, allegedly a group of rival RSS men from Mannanthala.

Some of the RSS men had business interests comparable to that of their political opponents in Vanchiyoor. The opposing groups were in conflict with each other for quite some time, though not always for political reasons.