KASARGOD: In a major setback for the LDF government, the murder of Youth Congress workers Kripesh and Sarath Lal PK in Periya will be investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), as ruled by the Supreme Court. The state government had been stonewalling the CBI investigation by not handing over the case diary and other related documents to the central agency, despite orders from the single and division benches of the Kerala High Court.
Dismissing the state government’s appeal challenging the HC order, the apex court on Tuesday asked it to immediately hand over the case diary to the CBI. The central agency had told the Supreme Court that it could not make much progress in the case because it did not have access to the case diary. Kripesh, 19, and Sarath Lal, 24, were hacked to death at Kalliyot near Periya on February 17, 2019, allegedly by CPM workers and leaders.
The Crime Branch of the Kerala Police investigated the case and charged 14 CPM workers and leaders for the double murder, but it named the prime suspects as prosecution witnesses. On September 30, 2019, the HC single bench quashed the chargesheet and transferred the case to the CBI. However, the government refused to hand over the case diary to the CBI, and after a month on October 31, appealed against the order before the division bench.
After completing the hearing on November 16, 2019, the division bench refused to stay the single bench order. It then sat on the case for nine months and gave its judgment upholding the CBI investigation on August 25, 2020. The state government then moved the apex court, which took up the case on September 25, but refused to stay the high court order.
Periya case: ‘Verdict a setback to CM who is protecting murderers’
Subsequently on Tuesday, the apex court too dismissed the state’s appeal and instead ordered a CBI probe into the case. Welcoming the SC order, Sathyanarayanan — father of one of the victims Sarath Lal — said the verdict was a big setback for the chief minister who was protecting murderers.
“This court order is god’s blessing to us,” he said. Earlier, when the state government moved the apex court, he had told TNIE that the government was killing them bit by bit. “They first killed our children. And now for the past year-and-a-half, they (the government) are killing us. We are ashamed to refer to this state government as our government,” he said.