Former police officer sentenced in murder

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Old 29-Oct-2010
Former police officer sentenced in murder

Former police officer sentenced in murder of Kerala Maoist leader's muder

Thiruvananthapuram: Four decades after the legendary murder of Arikkad Varghese, a Naxalite (Maoist) in north Kerala, a senior police officer has been handed life imprisonment by the Central Bureau of Investigation Court in Kochi.

The CBI special court in Kochi sentenced former inspector general of police K. Lakshmana to life imprisonment and slapped a fine of Rs10,000 (Dh800) on him in the Varghese murder case.

Varghese shot into prominence as a leader of the Naxalite movement in Kerala that had gained prominence in the 1960s and early 1970s. The court on Wednesday acquitted Lakshmana's colleague P. Vijayan, on grounds of insufficient evidence.

The case was that the police had captured Varghese, and later taken him to the forests near Tirunelly where he was shot dead at the orders of Lakshmana.

The matter came to light almost three decades after the killing when the police constable who shot Varghese to death, P. Ramachandran Nair, made a confession about what exactly had happened after Varghese's capture.

Order to shoot

Ramachandran Nair revealed that he had been among four constables who had accompanied Varghese to the forest, and that Lakshmana had asked who would shoot Varghese.

When Ramachandran Nair declined, Lakshmana threatened to eliminate him too, following which Nair agreed to shoot him, Nair revealed in his confession.

The case came into the media limelight following Nair's confession and the CBI took it on, culminating in the verdict given today.

Public prosecutor Purushothaman Nair argued for the maximum punishment for the accused as the case belonged to the rarest-of-rare category and because the Naxalite leader was shot after being bound. Judge S. Vijayakumar convicted the accused under Section 302 (murder) read with Section 34 (acting with common intention) of the Indian Penal Code.

Lakshmana's colleague P. Vijayan who went on to become a director general of police was acquitted, giving him the benefit of doubt. Vijayan is in his 80s and Lakshmana in his 70s.

Nair said the secret had burdened him and that he wanted to cleanse himself of the act.

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