KANNUR: Two CPM leaders were arrested by the Crime Branch in the Periya twin murder case on Tuesday and later released on bail.
The arrested are K Manikantan (45), CPM Uduma area committee secretary and N Balakrishnan (58), CPM Periya local secretary. They have been charged with harbouring the offender and destroying evidence. The arrested were granted bail by the Hosdurg local court on two personal sureties and a bond of `25,000 each.
The police had earlier questioned Uduma MLA K Kunhiraman, former MLA K V Kunhiraman, CPM’s district secretariat member V P P Mustafa.
The families of Kripesh and Sarath Lal, have all along been alleging that the murders couldn’t have been committed without the connivance of the district leadership. They also had given a statement as such to the crime branch.
The arrest has put the CPM on the defensive as it has been claiming of no role in the double murders.
The party has been contesting that its former Periya local committee member committed the crime out of personal grudge. CPM had suspended Peethambaran after his arrest.
According to the local police and the crime branch, Peethambaran the kingpin was helped by ten other people in executing the crime. After committing the crime, the accused went to Velutholi near Uduma and met Manikandan who later along with Balakrishnan helped them hide.
The evidence including the dress worn by the assailants was destroyed with the help of the two CPM leaders.
The Congress and the families of the slain youths claim that Peethambaran’s arrest was a conspiracy to shield the real killers and conspirators and that Peethambaran was a scapegoat. The families had approached the High Court demanding CBI probe into the case, which the state government and the crime branch opposed.
The Crime Branch contested that the investigation was progressing in the right direction and hence there was no need of a CBI probe.
However, they refused to comment on when the charge sheet would be filed. The current arrests come at a time when the High Court is going to consider the plea for CBI probe next week.
Meanwhile, Manikandan alleged that it was the conspiracy between the UDF and some police officials that led to their arrest and they had no role in the murders.
Though most of the police officials are sincere, some are showing political discrimination, he alleged.
It was on the evening of February 17 that the two Youth Congress activists, Kripesh and Sarath Lal were hacked to death at Kalliyot.