Thoothukudi VAO murder case: Case trial to begin from August 21

The murder of village administrative officer (VAO) Lourthu Francis (53) took place at his office in Murapanadu Kovilpathu village on April 25.

Published: 12th August 2023 09:20 AM  |   Last Updated: 12th August 2023 09:20 AM   |  A+A-

OCTOBER 9: Accused moves special NDPS court for bail.

Image used for representational purpose

Express News Service

THOOTHUKUDI: The principal district and sessions court dismissed the discharge petition filed by the second accused in the VAO murder case, following strong objection from public prosecutor advocate D Mohandas Samuel, during the argument on Friday. The principal district and sessions judge Selvam framed the charges to begin the trial by examining the witnesses related to the case from August 21.

The murder of village administrative officer (VAO) Lourthu Francis (53) took place at his office in Murapanadu Kovilpathu village on April 25, following which the police arrested A Ramasubramanian alias Ramasubu and Marimuthu of Vedakovil Street in nearby Kaliyavur village, in the case. Thoothukudi police submitted the charge sheet under sections 449, 302, 506(ii), and 34 IPC on July 17, and the public prosecutor opened the prosecution case on July 31.

On August 3, the second accused Marimuthu filed a discharge petition praying to relieve him from the case, claiming that he had no intention to kill the VAO and did not intimidate him.

The public prosecutor Mohandas, in his counter-filed on August 7, strongly opposed the discharge of Marimuthu from the case.

During the argument on the discharge petition on August 9, the public prosecutor informed the court that both Ramasubbu and Marimuthu shared the common intention to kill the VAO Lourthu Francis, as they were together involved in the sand theft case. The deceased VAO had also lodged complaints against both of them. "The two had conspired to eliminate the VAO as they could not continue their illegal activity as long as Lourthu Francis worked at the Murappanadu VAO office," according to the Public Prosecutor's argument.

"On the day of occurrence, both of them proceeded towards the VAO office carrying deadly weapons on a single vehicle -- Ramasubbu with a sickle (Aruval) and Marimuthu with an iron rod -- with full knowledge that it could cause death upon infliction. They both assaulted the VAO and hacked him to death brutally in the presence of the village assistant. They also issued death threats to the village assistant and the VAO's son, the complainant in the case," Mohandas argued.

Arguing that the discharge petition is only to drag the case proceedings, the public prosecutor pointed out that the High Court had already set two months time to dispose of the case. As the actions of the accused sufficiently show that they shared a common intention to murder the VAO, the public prosecutor stressed on dismissing the discharge petition.

Upon hearing the arguments on Friday, Judge Selvam dismissed the petition and framed the charges for the case. The session judge also adjourned the case to August 21, to examine the witnesses related to the case.

As many as 52 witnesses have been identified and 13 properties, including a sickle and an iron rod, have been marked in the case. The trial to examine the witnesses will begin on August 21, said sources in Thoothukudi court.

Earlier, Chief Minister MK Stalin had announced a `one crore solatium to the bereaved family. Moreover, District Collector Dr K Senthil Raj offered the deceased VAO's wife Positta a job as Junior Revenue Inspector on July 13.

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