KASARAGOD: The Central Bureau of Investigation on Wednesday arrested five men, including a CPM grassroots leader, in connection with the murders of Youth Congress workers Kripesh and Sarath Lal on February 17, 2019.
They will be produced before the Chief Judicial Magistrate Court, Ernakulam, on Thursday, said CBI deputy superintendent of police T P Ananthakrishnan.
He identified the arrested as CPM's Achiladukkam branch secretary Raju, Reji Varghese, first accused A Peethambaran's friend Surendran, Sastha Madhu who is the paternal uncle of fifth accused Gijin, and Hariprasad who runs a shop near the CPM party office at Achiladukkam.
The charge sheet of the Kerala Police's Crime Branch had said that the conspiracy to kill the Youth Congress workers was plotted at the bus wait shelter at Achiladukkam.
The Crime Branch had also arrested 14 persons, including CPM leader and Kanhangad block panchayat president K Manikandan, in connection with the double murder.
However, the High Court of Kerala on September 30, 2019, quashed the charge sheet of the Crime Branch and handed over the case to the CBI.
The High Court reasoned that the charge sheet of the Crime Branch was written solely based on the statements of the accused and it did not conduct forensic tests on the weapons allegedly used to kill Sarath Lal and Kripesh.
To be sure, the Crime Branch listed rods as weapons used to attack the two Youth Congress workers, but the postmortem report said their bodies did not have injuries from such weapons.
Yet, the LDF-led state government contested the high court and went up to the Supreme Court but could not stop the CBI from taking over the case in which all the accused were CPM members or leaders or sympathisers.
After much delay, the CBI began the investigation by re-creating the crime scene at Kalliyot on December 14, 2020.
In August 2021, the High Court set a four-month ultimatum to the CBI to submit the charge sheet.
The premier investigating agency made its first arrest on Wednesday. It is likely to submit the charge sheet on or before December 8 to meet the deadline set up by the High Court.