Biju Govind

The verdict is scheduled for November 29

Home Department anticipates trouble

Kozhikode: The Crime Branch - Criminal Investigation Department is planning to move the Marad Special Court here seeking deferment of the delivery of judgment in the Marad massacre case involving the killing of nine fishermen at the coastal village on May 2, 2003.

Reliable sources told The Hindu here on Tuesday that North Zone Additional Director-General of Police (ADGP) Kundan Singh Jangpangi had asked Inspector-General of Police (Crimes) K. Padmakumar to request the court to postpone the judgment in view of the anniversary of the demolition of the Babri Masjid on December 6.

Special Judge Babu Mathew P. Joseph had announced that the court would deliver the verdict on November 29.

A high-level committee constituted to review the surveillance of the Marad case under-trials who are now out on bail had earlier planned to move the court in this regard. Crime Branch Superintendent of Police T.V. Kamalakshan will submit a petition in this regard in the court on Wednesday, top sources said.

The Home Department anticipates trouble if the verdict is delivered a week before the 16th anniversary of the Masjid demolition. “The local police do not want to have any problem because of the verdict in a long-pending case,” a senior officer said.

Shortage of police

Another reason cited is the possibility of shortage of police personnel on account of a large number of policemen being deputed to Sabarimala. Policemen are drawn from various parts of the State on a rotational basis for duty at the holy hillocks. Over 80 policemen will be deputed from the city police during the initial phase beginning November 15 and 200 plus personnel towards the final phase in January.

The review committee, comprising heads of the Crime Branch, State Special Branch and the city police, had also been instrumental in checking whether the under-trial had been complying with the stringent bail conditions set by the High Court of Kerala. Less than a fortnight ago, the Special Court revoked the bail of five of the accused who were found to have violated the conditions. Eighty-four under-trials out of the 137 accused have been released on bail.

The accused were remanded during the trial. The Crime Branch, which probed the case, had charged-sheeted 148 persons in the case. The case of five juveniles was later transferred to the Kozhikode Juvenile Justice Board.

The trial in the case began at Eranhipalam on December 20, 2004. The disposal of witnesses was completed on October 18, 2007. The arguments, which commenced on November 1, 2007, were completed on April 9, 2008.

Mr. Jangpangi said the police had provided security to the Special Judge right from the time he had assumed office.