KOCHI: The arrest of nine persons, including local CPM leaders, by the CBI in the Payyoli Manoj murder case, has landed the party in the dock. The CBI, which found direct involvement of CPM leaders in the case, stated the conspiracy to carry out the attack was hatched at the party office at Payyoli. The nine arrested were produced before the Ernakulam Chief Judicial Magistrate Court on Friday and sent to CBI custody till January 10.
The arrested are T Chandu alias Chandu Master, 73, CPM Payyoli area committee secretary; P V Ramachandran, 59, CPM Payyoli local committee secretary; P K Kumaran, 53, Payyoli Branch Committee secretary; N C Musthafa, 47, local committee member; K T Ligesh, 38, local committee member; S Suresh Babu, 54, local committee member; Anoop P, 28, secretary, DYFI Muchukunnu; Arunath, 28, and K V Rathesh, 27. They have been listed as accused 16 to 24 in the case. In a report filed before the Ernakulam Chief Judicial Magistrate Court, the CBI said the first 15 accused arrested by the Kerala Police in the case had no personal enmity with the deceased and several of them had not even met him.
According to the CBI, accused 16 to 21, who were party leaders, asked the first and second accused, Aji and Jithesh respectively, to organise the attack. “The actual culprits who pulled strings from behind the scene tried to escape the clutches of law by passing the buck on to the first 15 accused. Several of the accused had no personal animosity, but due to apprehension on the part of the accused 16 to 21 regarding the growing popularity of Manoj, the crime was committed,” the report stated.
The CBI said an assault on CPM party worker Kuriyad Babu on February 9, 2012, had led to the murder of Manoj. The conspiracy to attack Manoj took place during a meeting held at the party office at Payyoli. Aji, the first accused, was a close friend and neighbour of deceased Manoj. Aji and second accused Jithesh were pressured by party leaders to organise the attack.
The first accused Aji hired seven assailants from Muchukunnu with the help of DYFI leader Anoop. On February 12, 2012, Aji brought them in an autorickshaw to the place near Manoj’s residence. As many as 20 persons had gathered near his residence. With the consent of the party leaders, seven assailants, accompanied by Aji and Jithesh, entered the residence and hacked him.
Payyoli Manoj, an autorickshaw driver and a BMS (Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh - the labour wing of the RSS) leader was attacked by a gang, allegedly comprising some activists of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) at Payyoli in February, 2012.