Staff Reporter

Thiruvananthapuram: The Crime Branch has arrested a 28-year-old National Development Front (NDF) activist in connection with the murder of N. Sunil Kumar, a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) functionary. Sunil Kumar was hacked to death by an armed gang at Kilimanoor in the early hours of May 9, 2006.

The accused was identified as Salim of Nedumangadu. The Crime Branch has listed seven other NDF activists as accused in the case.

Sunil Kumar, district secretary of the Hindu Aikya Vedi and RSS jilla seva pramukh, was killed around 5.30 a.m. in front of the Mahadevaswaram temple. He was the local agent of the Janma Bhoomi newspaper. The assailants, eight of them, were travelling in a Toyota Qualis van with press stickers and fake registration plates.

The breakthrough in the case came when investigators analysed mobile phone calls made from the area in the early hours of May 9. Some of the calls were traced to mobile phones handled by known NDF activists, including Salim who was hiding in Tamil Nadu after the murder. Salim's arrest helped the Crime Branch uncover the plot, an official said. Sunil Kumar was killed in retaliation for assaulting three NDF activists near an RSS training camp at Raloorkavu near Attingal on October 10, 2004. The NDF activists, who were handed over to the police by RSS men, were arrested on the charge of carrying swords. The NDF maintained that the RSS men had foisted the swords on their activists.

On February 27, 2006 suspected NDF activists had attacked one Siva Prasad, a KSRTC driver, mistaking him to be Sunil Kumar. Sunil Kumar's attackers had assembled at Thampanoor the previous day and camped for sometime at an abandoned quarry near Kilimanoor before carrying out their task on May 9.