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Kerala:Com.Varghese was murdered, says CBI

Kochi, June 10: The CBI special court here has directed two former senior police officers to appear before the court on June 16 when charges would be framed against them in connection with the death of Naxalite leader A Varghese in 1970.

Varghese, who police claimed had died in an 'encounter' 37 years ago in Thirunelli in Wynad district, was in fact murdered, according to CBI, which investigated the case.

CBI special court judge P Chandrasekhara Pillai directed B Vijayan and K Lakshmana, who retired as DGP and IGP respectively, to be present in the court on June 16 when the charges against them will be read out. The court will also decide when to start witness examination.

The plea of Vijayan and Lakshmana to discharge them from the case was rejected by the court on Friday.Former CRPF constable Ramachandran Nair, the first accused in the case, died in November last year.

The case according to CBI is that on February 18, 1970, Naxal leader Varghese was shot dead by Ramachandran Nair allegedly at the instigation Vijayan and Lakshmana, the then DIG and Dy SP respectively of Kozhikode.

Wynad district was the helm of Naxal activities and Varghese was accused in many Naxal attacks, especially in police stations and had been evading arrest.

CBI stated that Varghese was arrested, brought to CRPF camp at Thirunelli and shot.

However, police claimed that Varghese died in police encounter which was confirmed by the Kozhikode Revenue Divisional Officer (RDO) who conducted the autopsy.

The Mananthavady police, in whose jurisdiction Thirunelli falls, closed the case as police 'encounter'.

After a lapse of 29 years, in 1999, Ramachandran Nair, who had retired from service, approached the Kerala High Court with a prayer seeking inquiry into the death of Varghese, which, according to him, was not a police encounter but was instigated allegedly by Vijayan and Lakshmana. Nair filed an affidavit in the court to the effect that he shot Varghese, who was blindfolded and tied to a tree. He fired only one bullet and Varghese died.

The High Court then heard the state government, CBI and the petitioner.The government stuck to its stand that Varghese had died in a police encounter and sought a judicial probe.

The court refused the government's plea for judicial probe and directed the CBI to inquire the matter on January 21, 1999.CBI, Delhi, took up the investigation and filed first information report (chargesheet) before Chief Judicial Magistrate, Ernakulam, in March 2002.

However, as a result of the petition moved by Lakshmana, proceedings in the lower court were stayed. On April 4, 2007, the High Court rejected Lakshmana's petition and directed the CBI Special court, Kochi, to proceed with the trial.

There are 71 witnesses in the prosecution side, key eyewitness being Hanifa, a former CRPF constable at Thirunelli.

Sarve Samajar

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posted by Resistance 6/11/2007 10:11:00 AM,

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