KOCHI: The Kerala High Court on Monday acquitted 21 CPM activists who were convicted for life imprisonment in a case related to the alleged murder of Ammukutty and Shihab in Kannur on May 2002.
Meanwhile the court confirmed the life term awarded to three CPM activists in the case.
The prosecution case was that the murder took place in the background of a series of political killings in Kannur during 2002.
According to the prosecution, Uthaman, an RSS activist was murdered on May 22, 2002, allegedly by some CPM activists. The funeral was fixed on May 23, which was a hartal day called by the BJP/RSS.
The RSS sympathisers along with Ammukutty Amma, a relative of Uthaman and others were on their way after participating in the funeral in a jeep on May 23 evening from Chavassery to Karkode when the incident took place.
When they reached Karkode, the CPM workers had blocked the jeep. When the driver Shihab tried to take a deviation, a bomb was hurled at the driver seat, killing the driver and Ammukutty Amma.
The court observed that there are only general allegations against them and the court hesitates to convict all of them on such vague evidence.
Counsel for the accused Senior Advocate P Vijayabhanu submitted that the trial court had not properly analysed the evidence let in and the procedure followed by the trial judge for identifying the accused during the trial was injudicious.
The bench also observed that the mere presence in an unlawful assembly does not make a person a member of unlawful assembly and no such person could be convicted of any offence under Section 149 (unlawful assembly).
The court further observed that there was concrete evidence against the participation of the three accused persons Vayalali Krishnan, K Radhakrishnan and K V Mahendran.