Kerala

Setback in Periye case to be campaign highlight

The Supreme Court’s rejection of the State's plea challenging the High Court's order for a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into murders of two Youth Congress workers at Periye in Kasaragod district is seen as more than an embarrassment for the Left Democratic Front (LDF) government.

The legal setback of the State government will be summoned during the ongoing electioneering to raise questions as to why it deployed big ticket legal defence against the High Court order and even risked the State Police Chief (SPC) facing contempt charges in its effort to stonewall the CBI probe.

The Crime Branch probe into the murder of Kripesh, 21, and Sarath Lal, 24, at Periye on February 17, 2019, came under a cloud when parents of the slain youths filed a writ petition on April 1 in the High Court seeking to transfer the investigation of the case to the CBI alleging that the probe was faulty. The High Court's order that the CBI would investigate the case 'forthwith in accordance with law' also directed the SPC to provide all support and facility to the CBI.

The probe into the sensational murder case had been used by the United Democratic Front (UDF) during the Lok Sabha election last year to highlight what it called the CPI(M)’s culture of violence. The investigation appeared to be entangled in a legal battle as the government deployed lawyers from outside to challenge the High Court Single Bench order transferring the investigation to the CBI.

The High Court Division Bench, on a writ appeal by the government, revived the charge sheet filed by the Crime Branch against the 14 accused, including local CPI(M) leaders and workers, but directed the CBI to conduct 'further investigation' and file supplementary report.

According to legal circles, the SPC was put at risk of facing contempt charges when the parents of the deceased filed contempt case twice against the SPC, among others, for having not handed over the case diary to the CBI following the High Court orders. That was unusual, they say adding that it created an impression that the government was protecting the accused.

That the government has spent huge amount to pay the lawyers brought from outside to defend its stand against the High Court order for the CBI investigation has also helped strengthen that perception. The government reportedly spent nearly ₹1 crore from the exchequer to foot the bill for stalling the CBI probe. The UDF leadership has already sounded that the government’s setback in the Supreme Court would impact the upcoming local body elections, especially in the Malabar region parts of which are affected by political violence.

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Jan 23, 2021 8:01:15 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/setback-in-periye-case-to-be-campaign-highlight/article33231497.ece

Next Story