Two get life term for Youth Congress leader Balakrishnan’s murder

Balakrishnan was killed in 2001 for marrying a Muslim in Kasargod.
Mohammad Iqbal and Muhammed Haneef, who were convicted of killing Youth Congress leader Balakrishnan, being taken to the Ernakulam Sub-Jail | Express
Mohammad Iqbal and Muhammed Haneef, who were convicted of killing Youth Congress leader Balakrishnan, being taken to the Ernakulam Sub-Jail | Express

KOCHI: The CBI court in Kochi on Friday awarded life imprisonment to two men who were found guilty in the honour killing of a Youth Congress leader for marrying a Muslim woman in Kasargod. The court also imposed a fine of `1 lakh each on the accused.The case is related to the murder of YC leader Balakrishnan after he married a Muslim woman in 2001. CBI judge S Santhosh Kumar awarded life imprisonment to Mohammad Iqbal alias Ikku of Thekkil, Chattachal, Kasargod, and Mohammed Haneef alias Jackie Haneef of Thalangara, Kasargod.

“On hearing both sides, the court does not consider this case as rarest of rare cases. Accused are convicted and sentenced to undergo imprisonment for life for the offence under Section 120B of the IPC and imprisonment for life and to pay a fine of `1 lakh each for an offence under Section 302 of the IPC. In default of payment of fine, rigorous imprisonment for two years. The fine amount if realised will be paid to Gopalan, father of the deceased, as compensation. Sentence of imprisonment shall run concurrently,” the order stated.

The court had acquitted A Abdul Gafoor alias Gafoor, of Thayalandgadi, Kasargod; A M Muhammad of Chengala, Kasargod, and Aboobacker Haji of Uppala, Kasargod. Before announcing the sentence, the court heard from the prosecution and defence lawyers.CBI prosecutor K R Biju Babu submitted that maximum punishment should be granted to the accused persons. According to her, Balakrishnan was the only support for his parents, Gopalan and Pankajakshi. She also requested the court to impose a maximum fine on the accused.

However, the defence lawyers asked the court to consider the current life situation of the accused. According to them, the case is not the rarest case which would attract capital punishment. The first accused Mohammed Iqbal has three children and one of his sons is partially blind now. He is finding it hard to meet the medical expenses of the child. While the lawyer who appeared for Haneef claimed that her client was a cardiac patient.

The accused persons were shifted to Kannur Central Jail. Balakrishnan’s father Gopalan welcomed the verdict. “I have no other option than finding solace in the verdict of the court. I lost my child and recently my wife also passed away,” he said.The related incident took place on September 18, 2001, three months after Balakrishnan married a Muslim woman. He was forcibly taken in a car by Mohammad Iqbal and Mohammed Haneef. They stabbed him inside the vehicle. After escaping from the car, Balakrishnan reached the courtyard of a mosque, where the Imam and local residents rushed him to a  hospital where he succumbed to injuries. 

It was in 2010, the CBI took over the probe and arraigned Aboobacker Haji of Uppala, whose daughter married Balakrishnan, as accused. However, Aboobacker was acquitted in the absence of evidence.
Hostile witnesses get notice

The CBI court has issued a notice to two witnesses who turned hostile during the trial after giving the statement under 164 CrPC proceedings in the murder case. It was following a petition filed by the CBI, the court decided to issue a notice against Mohammed Kunhi, a Muslim League local leader, and C A Abbas — witness No 25 and 26 in the case.

The duo after giving the statement under Section 164 of CrPC before the Judicial first class magistrate denied the contents of the statement before the CBI court during the trial stage.CBI prosecutor K R Biju Babu said the duo had given the statement against one of the accused persons in the case before the magistrate in Aluva a few years ago. “However, they turned hostile during the trial of the case. The court can direct the Chief Judicial Magistrate Court to charge an offence under Section 193 of IPC and commence the trial against the duo. If found guilty, a punishment of up to seven years imprisonment can be granted,” she said.

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