Accused set Sandeepananda Giri's ashram on fire in 'act of revenge', claims remand report

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Thiruvananthapuram: The remand report in the arson attack at the Sandeepananda Giri ashram names BJP leader VG Girikumar as the key conspirator in the case.

Girikumar, a ward councillor in Thiruvananthapuram Corporation, was arrested by Crime Branch officials on Tuesday.

The remand report prepared by Crime Branch reveals that Girikumar set the ashram on fire as an act of revenge against Sandeepananda Giri's remark supporting the entry of women at Sabarimala Temple. The assailants set fire to two cars and a motorcycle parked in front of the ashram in the wee hours of October 27, 2018.

The Crime Branch claimed that the first to fourth accused in the arson case conspired to set the ashram on fire after joining a protest event held on October 21, 2018. The remand report also mentions that Girikumar told his accomplices that they needed to "teach Sandeepananda Giri a lesson."

Crime Branch also arrested RSS worker Sabari S Nair (29) the other day. The investigation team found that Sabari was one of the two people who set the ashram on fire.

Based on Girikumar's plan, the prime accused, Prakash, and the third accused, Sabari, set the ashram on fire. Further, Crime Branch pointed out they had recovered a bike used for the act, which was later scrapped and sold.

The investigation agency has sought 14 days of judicial custody of the accused by citing they could influence the witnesses in the case.

Prakash committed suicide in January 2022. The breakthrough came after Prakash's brother Prasanth revealed that his brother and his friends set the ashram on fire. Though he withdrew this statement, the investigation agency was able to trace other accused in the case

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