Onchiyam case: interim stay unlikely to delay final verdict

Updated - November 16, 2021 09:04 pm IST

Published - October 12, 2013 12:27 pm IST - Kozhikode:

A two-week interim stay by the Kerala High Court on the trial proceedings in the T.P. Chandrasekharan murder case is unlikely to delay the pronouncement of the final verdict.

The High Court had earlier directed the Special Additional Sessions Court (Marad cases) here, trying the case of killing of the RMP leader, that it should give its verdict on or before November 30.

Justice Harun-ul- Rashid on Friday stayed the trial on the request of the defence counsel K. Gopalakrishna Kurup, who is appearing on behalf of M.K. Pradeepan aka Lambu Pradeep, 31st accused in the case.

The accused had approached the High Court seeking to quash an order of the trial court rejecting a petition to examine the nodal officer of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited and submission of call data records (CDR) of the official mobile phone of one of the investigators, Deputy Superintendent of Police A.P. Shoukathali.

The High Court will continue hearing the arguments of the special prosecutor C.K. Sreedharan on October 18 and could possibly dispose of the petition on that day itself or give its order on some other day within the two-week stay period, sources said.

Petition disallowed

The trial court, quoting orders of the Supreme Court, had disallowed this petition, saying that summoning the CDR of an investigating officer could encroach upon the privileged communication of the Police Department.

Similar views were also echoed by Mr. Sreedharan, who pointed out that divulging intelligence inputs or source of information given or received by an officer would have disastrous consequences.

Pradeepan had deposed before the trial court that Mr. Shoukathali, who was the then Dy.SP, Thalassery, had not recorded his confessional statement and that he had not been taken to Chokli for recovering the swords on May 15, 2012.

Subsequently, the defence counsel argued that tower location of the mobile phone of the police officer could reveal whether he was at Thalassery or not on that day.

At present, the trial court has completed the deposition and cross-examination of the defence witnesses under Section 233 (entering upon defence) of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC).

This was after the marathon questioning of the accused under Section 313 (power to examine the accused) under CrPC.

Official sources said here on Friday that R. Narayana Pisharadi, judge, had scheduled to begin the arguments between the prosecution and defence counsel on October 17.

This will take less than a fortnight for both parties. At least, two weeks are necessary to prepare the verdict. That means, the verdict could be pronounced as scheduled by November 30 even if there is a two-week stay on trial proceedings.

Chandrasekharan was hacked to death at Onchiyam at 10.15 p.m. on May 4, 2012. The trial in the case began on February 11. Initially, the special police team that probed the case had submitted a list of 76 accused in the case. Now, only 36 accused face trial as the trial court acquitted 20 of them last month and discharged two others.

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