The police team probing the murder of Youth Congress worker S.V. Shuhaib at Edayannur here on February 12 said that two Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M)] workers suspected to have links with the murder were arrested on Sunday.
The police confirmation came amid reports by news channels that two CPI(M) workers identified as Akash Thillankery and Rijin Raj surrendered before the police in the morning. The reports said that local leaders of the CPI(M) accompanied them when they surrendered. The police, however, denied the reports.
“I don’t know from where the rumour of surrender cropped up,” District Police Chief Shiva Vikram G. told The Hindu . He said the two were captured after a massive combing operation conducted by the police in suspected hideouts in the area. The two were being questioned in detail, he said.
Iritty Deputy Superintendent of Police Prajeesh Thottathil denied that the accused had surrendered. “We took them into custody from different parts and we are questioning them,” he said. He said the investigators were expecting positive results.
The investigators said at least one of the two in custody were directly involved in the murder. News channels also released photos showing the arrested youths with CPI(M) leaders. The Congress leadership said that the duo in custody were proxy, meant to save the real assailants.
“I don’t think that those in custody are the real accused,” senior Congress leader K. Sudhakaran said. He said their custody also shattered the CPI(M)’s claim that the party had no links with the murder.
He is scheduled to begin a 48-hour fast here from February 19 demanding the arrest of the real culprits.
He had also threatened that the fast would be extended to an indefinite hunger strike if the accused were not arrested during the fasting period.
The district police led by Mr. Vikram had been conducting massive raids in hideouts near Mattannur, amid allegation that the arrest of the culprits was being delayed as part of the CPI(M)’s bid to subvert the investigation. The areas raided by the police personnel included Mudakkozhimala, which had been used as the hiding place by the key accused in the T.P. Chandrasekharan murder case, before their arrest.