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CBI special court convicts former IGP K Lakshmana

Forty years after the brutal killing of Naxal leader, Varghese, CBI convicted Lakshmana in the case while acquitting former DGP P Vijayan.

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Updated:October 27, 2010, 4:55 PM IST
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CBI special court convicts former IGP K Lakshmana
Forty years after the brutal killing of Naxal leader, Varghese, CBI convicted Lakshmana in the case while acquitting former DGP P Vijayan.
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Kochi: Forty years after the brutal killing of Naxal leader, A Varghese, CBI Special Court here on Wednesday convicted former IGP K Lakshmana in the case while acquitting former DGP P Vijayan giving him the benefit of doubt. Varghese was gunned downed by police in cold blood in the Thiruvenlli forests in Kerala's Wayanad district on February 18, 1970 and it was described as 'encounter' death.
Delivering the judgment, CBI Special court judge Svijay Kumar said the first accused in the case, late CRPF constable P Ramachandran Nair had committed the act of murder on the command of Lakshmana, the second accused, who was the then DYSP. The judge convicted Lakshmana of the offence under under Section 302 read with Section 34 of IPC and acquitted P Vijayan former DGP of the offence by conferring benefit of doubt. Lakshmana and Vijayan, who came in a wheel chair, were present in the court. The quantum of sentence will be delivered on Thursday. Immediately after the verdict, Lakshamana, who is in his eighties, has been taken to the sub court in Ernakulam. Eighty-three-year-old Vijayan, who was SP Kozhikode when the incident occurred, told reporters he was happy with the verdict. The case received wide media attention a few years ago after Ramachandran Nair confessed in 1998 that he had shot Varghese at the behest of his superior officers Vijayan and Lakshamana. 'Truth by its very nature does not yield to be kept hidden forever. Truth which has been hither to hidden as covered by the glitter of golden plate, has by now, though belatedly, been discovered. Truth triumphs; Truth alone ', the judge observed. Available evidence in this case has withstood the test of time and has convincingly proved the complicity of Lakshamana. Equally the evidence is also not sufficient to prove the involvement of the third accused, P Vijayan beyond reasonable doubt. A joint secretary in the Kerala Assembly had furnished to the CBI, copy of the proceedings of the Kerala Assembly of March 2, 1970, which contains the question put forward by a member K R Gowri and the reply given by the then minister CH Mohammed Koya in respect of the alleged murder of Varghese after catching him alive. Gowri had asked whether it was feasible for a civilised government to kill by firing a man caught alive to which the minister had replied that such action was not justifiable and it did not occur. However, heinous the crime committed may be, the criminal cannot be punished at the hands of the agency authorised to investigate the crime, the court held. 'That is against the spirit of the Constitution of India and all norms of positive law, natural law and principles of natural justice and human consciousness and righteousness'. The statement of witnesses has established the presence of Lakshamana on the spot of crime and his giving threatening instructions to Ramachandran Nair to kill Varghese. The court held that it cannot at any stretch of imagination be concluded that all the witnesses have colluded or conspired together to falsely implicate the accused in the case. These witnesses are also not shown to have any element of motive or enmity to the accused, the court held. The chances of Varghese who is a Naxalite leader, alone getting isolated in the forest without the company of any of his followers and getting himself engaged in an encounter with a team of armed CRPF men are remote, the court held. The court examined 31 witnesses when the trial began in April this year. Varghese's two brothers and neighbour Prabhakaran, who saw a handcuffed Varghese being taken by the police, had testified in the case. Thomas, one of the brothers had told the court that on the day of the incident, some policemen came to his house and informed the family that Varghese had died in an encounter. He was also present in the court on Wednesday along with some other relatives. He had identified the body, which was buried at the compound of their house after the Church refused a resting place. Following the revelation of Ramachandran Nair that he had shot Vargehse, the latter’s brothers and former Naxal colleagues approached the Kerala High Court for a CBI probe. The court in 1999 had asked the CBI to investigate Varghese's death. The CBI had filed charge sheets against Nair, Vijayan and Lakshmana. Ramachandran Nair, who died in 2006, had stated that he made the confession after all these years to clear his conscience.
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