KASARGOD: The investigation into the twin murder of Youth Congress workers Kripesh and Sarath Lal is stumbling on one controversy after another.Even while the government was resisting the demand of the families to hand over the case to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), it has transferred out Crime Branch superintendent of police V M Mohammed Rafeek, who was heading the probe.
Congress leaders said officer Rafeek was shunted out because he was widening the ambit of the investigation to include district-level leaders of the CPM. “His mistake was he took a detailed statement from the family members of Kripesh and Sarath Lal,” said Congress general secretary Oommen Chandy. The statements revealed everything the CPM was trying to hide, he said. “It was inappropriate to change the investigating officer,” he said.
The local police arrested seven persons, including a CPM member, A Peethambaran, in connection with the case. After the arrests, the government transferred the case to the Crime Branch. Rafeek took over the investigation on Monday and visited the houses of the victims and took statements.
In the statements, the families revealed 12 more names, apart from the seven accused, said sources. “The families mentioned Udma MLA K Kunhiraman, CPM district secretariat member V P P Mustafa, and local traders and businessmen close to the CPM in their statements,” said a Congress leader.
On Thursday, the Crime Branch sought and got the custody of Peethambaran and Saji George, another accused, from the court. But before Rafeek could question them, he was transferred out, said Congress leaders.
Though the CPM maintained that the murders were triggered by local issues, the probe was widening to district-level leaders, said the leader of opposition Ramesh Chennithala. “That is why he was removed,” he said.If the CPM had nothing to hide, why was it fearing a probe by the CBI, he said. “We will continue our struggle politically and legally to get this case transferred to the CBI,” he said.
Mahila Congress state president Lathika Subhash said the officer was transferred to sabotage the case.