The CBI on Friday filed a charge sheet against 24 individuals, including a former CPM MLA, in connection with the killing of Congress workers Kripesh and Sarat Lal in a village in Kerala's Kasargod, officials said here. The people named in the charge sheet filed before an Ernakulam court includes CPM ex-MLA KV Kunhiraman, they said, adding that the Congress workers were murdered in Periya village of Kasargod on February 17, 2019.
The agency had taken over the investigation from the Kerala Police on October 23, 2019 on the directives of the Kerala High Court. "It was alleged that on February 17, 2019, between 18.00 hours to 19.45 hours, Kripesh and Sarat Lal, alias Koorangara Joshy, two leaders of a political party (Congress), were brutally murdered by workers of another party (CPM) at Kaliyatt in Periya village due to political enmity," CBI spokesperson R C Joshi said.
The crime branch of the state police had filed a charge sheet on May 20, 2019 against 14 accused, but the parents of the victims moved the high court, expressing anguish over the findings of the police, the officials said. The CPM government in Kerala tried hard to oppose a CBI probe in the high court and later at the Supreme Court, but the apex court allowed the central probe agency to carry on with its investigation, they said.
"The CBI examined more than 300 witnesses and collected several documents etc in the case. During investigation, it was alleged that there were some politically motivated attacks and counterattacks between the workers of two political parties in the area," Joshi said. He said it was further alleged that the brutal attack on the two victims was a retaliation for an earlier attack on one of the accused in the charge sheet and others.
The CBI had arrested five accused CPM workers on December 01, 2021, and currently, they are in judicial custody. In addition, 11 accused earlier arrested by the state police are also in judicial custody, Joshi said.