Krishnakumar murder: A watershed moment in city’s criminal history

Aprani Krishnakumar murder had all these elements ingrained in it, which made it a special case among a string of murders fuelled by gang rivalry.

Published: 01st December 2022 01:25 AM  |   Last Updated: 01st December 2022 01:25 AM   |  A+A-

murder

Image for representational purpose. (Express Illustration)

Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Gangland wars are often precipitated by personal rivalries or tussles for supremacy in areas dominated by rival gangs. And in some cases, even the bad blood between the same group members over the division of spoils of crimes culminates in a split in the gang and an eventual bloodbath. In rare cases, political leanings had a role to play. 

Aprani Krishnakumar's murder had all these elements ingrained in it, which made it a special case among a string of murders fuelled by gang rivalry. The macabre killing of this young man near Chackai bypass in February 2007 is a gory chapter in the criminal history of the capital city.

Krishnakumar, who led a major criminal syndicate, was chopped down by a rival gang when he was returning from Vanchiyoor court after appearing in a case. His car was waylaid by an eight-member gang that came in another vehicle. Krishnakumar was assaulted using choppers and swords and later in the day he succumbed to injuries at a private hospital. 

Eight accused, including Om Prakash, Karate Shibu, Peeli Shibu and Ambalamukku Krishnakumar, were sentenced to life by the Additional Sessions Court. However, the High Court set aside the punishment of Om Prakash and another accused Prasanth and released them. 

A Special Branch officer, who was part of the shadow team that monitored organised criminal groups in the city, said Krishnakumar had headed the criminal gang comprising Karate Shibu and other youngsters from the city. Later, he left the country and remotely operated the gang. Suresh was deputed to run the gang and by the time Krishnakumar returned, Suresh had established himself. 

The proceeds from crime and other illegal dealings had fattened the wallets of the gang members and Suresh did not want to hand over the reins back to Krishnakumar. Krishnakumar, meanwhile, made a good revenue out of sand mining under the guise of dredging the Parvathi Puthanar. He also operated a fleet of cars that he had put on rental service.

The rivalry between Krishnakumar and Suresh got bitter and the camp got divided into two -- one supporting Krishnakumar and the other with Suresh. It was in this scenario that Om Prakash entered the scene. An upstart in the crime world at that time, he was ambitious and wanted to carve a name for himself among the gangsters. 

“Om Prakash wanted to take over all businesses which were run by Krishnakumar. He also had strong political backing, while Krishnakumar was associated with a rival political party. To further his business ambitions, Om Prakash and a few others used the gangsters having beef with Krishnakumar and eliminated him. The murder was carried out with political patronage as well,” the officer said. 

The officer said Krishnakumar's murder was a watershed moment in the history of the underworld in Kazhakkootam, which was once a hub of criminal activities. “After the killing, the gangsters split into two. Those belonging to Krishnakumar’s camp fled the scene fearing for their lives. The other faction too lost its steam after its men were arrested.

A few of the history sheeters committed suicide, while some others migrated elsewhere. All those involved in organised crime were wary of their lives. That helped the cops reign in on gang culture in the area,” the officer added. The judiciary also said there is a culture of violence and that it was taking a toll on public life. Additional Sessions Judge K P Indira had pointed out this in her verdict sentencing the eight accused to life imprisonment. 

The prosecution also had a tough time handling the case. Special Prosecutor Sajan Prasad and judge Indira had to be given police protection, while during the first phase of the trial, 96 out of 99 witnesses turned hostile.



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