Onchiyam case: State may appeal against court ruling

Acquittal of 20 accused in Onchiyam murder case

September 19, 2013 04:23 am | Updated November 16, 2021 09:13 pm IST - KOZHIKODE

Minister for Home Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan on Wednesday discussed with the special prosecutors in the T.P. Chandrasekharan murder case about the possibility of an appeal against the order of the trial court acquitting 20 accused.

The closed-door meeting between the special prosecutors, C.K. Sreedharan and P. Kumarankutty, and the Minister lasted less than 45 minutes. The meeting was in the backdrop of the ruling last week by the Special Additional Sessions Court (Marad Cases) trying the murder of Revolutionary Marxist Party (RMP) leader, acquitting 20 of the 56 accused of the charges.

Among those acquitted were Karayi Rajan, member, Kannur district secretariat, CPI(M); E.M. Shaji, secretary of the Kallamala West branch, CPI(M); and Sarin Sasi, Kannur district president, SFI. The case pertains to a seven-member gang, allegedly hired by the CPI(M), hacking Chandrasekharan to death at Vallikkad, near Onchiyam, on May 4, 2012.

The meeting also assumes significance as the verdict had also generated a fresh bout of factionalism in the Congress party with a section of ‘I’ group from north Kerala accusing the Home Minister of not processing the case properly.

The 20 accused were acquitted under Section 232 (if, after taking the evidence for the prosecution, examining the accused, and hearing the prosecution and the defence on the point, the judge considers that there is no evidence that the accused committed the offence, the judge shall record an order of acquittal) of the Code of Criminal Procedure (Cr.PC).

Opinion sought

Official sources said that the Minister had asked the special prosecutors to give an expert opinion whether the State government had any scope for appealing against the order before the High Court of Kerala when a large number of accused had been acquitted under Section 232 of the CrPC. Previously, the court had also discharged two accused under Section 227 (discharge) of the CrPC before the court framing the charge sheet.

The special prosecutors said that they would study the order of the trial court and give a reply in this regard shortly, Mr. Radhakrishnan told The Hindu .

The prosecutors told Mr. Thiruvanchoor that all the accused who had been acquitted were charged either with Section 118 (concealing design to commit offence punishable with death or imprisonment for life) or Section 109 (punishment of abetment if the act abetted is committed in consequence and where no express provision is made for its punishment) or Section 212 (harbouring offender) of the Indian Penal Code.

The prosecution witnesses who had to testify against these accused had turned hostile during the trial. As many as 52 witnesses had turned hostile in the case. Most of these witnesses were residing in areas known to be strongholds of the CPI (M), Mr. Sreedharan said.

On the one hand the investigators had found it difficult to get appropriate witnesses to depose against the accused and on the other they did not want to fabricate evidence and rope in false witnesses, the special prosecutors said.

Top News Today

Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in

Comments

Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.