ALAPPUZHA: The Alappuzha Additional District Court III on Saturday awarded death sentence to CPM's former Cherthala local secretary R Byju, 45, of Kakkaparambathu, who was found guilty in the murder of Congress ward president K S Divakaran. Five others were sentenced to life imprisonment by judge K Anilkumar. The court observed Byju, the sixth accused in the case, was highly influential. So in the preliminary stage the police excluded him from the case, the judgment said. The issues related to the sale of coir mats led to the attack on Divakaran.
The court also imposed a fine of Rs 1 lakh each to the convicts. Those awarded life term are V Sujith, 38, Cheppilapozhi house, Cherthala, S Sathishkumar, 38, Konattu house, P Praveen, 32, Cheppilapozhi house, M Benny, 45, Vavally house and N Sethukumar, 45, of Choolakkal house.
The issues related to the sale of coir mats led to the attack on Divakaran.
The group led by Byju came to Divakaran’s house for selling coir mats under a project of the Coir Corporation, on November 29. They asked Divakaran to buy a mat. However, he rejected the demand citing the price was high. This led to an altercation and the team kept a mat forcefully in the house and left. Divakaran’s son Dileep raised the issue in the ‘grama sabha’ held in the afternoon. It led to a war of words. Later, the gang arrived at Divakaran’s house and attacked him.
His wife Reshmi and son Dileep were also injured in the assault. The gang beat Divakaran with a wooden piece which resulted in a deep wound on his head. He was admitted to the Cherthala taluk hospital and later shifted to the Kottayam Medical College where he died on December 9, the report said. During preliminary investigation, Byju was not included in the list of accused. Later, the Congress staged an agitation and the police were forced to include Byju in the chargesheet. Later, the CPM removed him from the post of local secretary. Byju and Sethukumar were accused in several cases registered by the police.