Jayanandan in 2021 | Photo: Mathrubhumi
Mala, Thrissur: For the first time in seventeen years, KP Jayanandan of Poyya village is back home.
The name may not ring a bell for many, but sure will the nickname, ‘Ripper’ Jayanandan. This ‘notorious’ criminal, who was charged with five different murder cases in the early 2000s is now serving life at Viyyur Central Jail in Thrissur. He was acquitted in three cases and convicted in two. One of these cases did not see an appeal beyond the trial court.
Jayanandan is home for two days, March 21 and 22, to attend the wedding of his elder daughter, Keerthy. Jayanandan had almost come to accept the harsh realities of life. But on the very same day he came home, a news report on his conviction published on The News Minute, an English news portal, has kindled new hopes for the family.
The report, by MK Nidheesh, has raised serious questions about the way the Kerala police conducted the investigation.
The investigative venture, funded by Project 39A of National Law University, carries disturbing information about how the police treated Jayanandan’s case. The story quotes several witnesses who make the startling revelation that they were forced to lie in the court, fearing a culprit might roam free if they didn’t do it. Many times, the police told them to just do it. The report also carries an interview with a top police officer who probed the case boasting that he used torture to get Jayanandan’s confession in the case. It also states that the prosecution did not present a lab report that could have gone wrong for them. In a nutshell, the one-year-long research of the journalist has brought out the dark side of the methods used by the police to bring a speedy culmination to cases that involve brutal crimes.
The daughter’s fight
Keerthy, Jayanandan’s eldest daughter, is getting married tomorrow. However, it wasn’t easy to read how happy she was from looking at her.
Keerthy and her younger sister were little kids when Jayanandan was arrested. Keerthy is now an advocate. She herself argued in the court for his father’s parole for the wedding. "I am glad that I was able to argue in court about that," she said. After completing her studies, she is now practising on her own. “I wanted my father with me at the wedding. There was no response when we filed for parole. Hence I moved court for it,” she said in a short chat outside her unfinished home.
Interestingly, Keerthy is marrying the son of a police officer.
Jayanandan was taken back to prison at 5 pm on Tuesday evening. He will be escorted to the wedding on Wednesday morning. Though police officers who were present at his home did not let the media talk to him, he said he was happy, when there was a chance for a brief interaction.
The house did not seem like a typical Kerala house getting ready for a wedding. Apart from Keerthy, Jayanandan and his wife Indira, only Jayanandan’s father was present in the house. Keerthy’s sister is studying medicine and was not home yet. Neighbours were not even seen outside their homes. When asked, one neighbour said no one keeps in touch with that family. The relatives also are not cooperating with them.
When asked how they managed their life so far, Keerthy said the four of them stood together to make it happen. “We never acted like my father was in jail. We discuss everything with him when we visit or call. It was like he was always here. The four of us stood together. That is the only way to manage such a situation,” she said.
According to Keerthy, she used the isolation from the society as an energy to fight back. She added that the family did not get the help of the society in any way.
Keerthy has said that she would describe her version of the story in detail after the marriage.
What Nidheesh says
Nidheesh said that the information about the cases he found out were unknown even to the family till then. “They neither had the knowledge nor the money to carry on. They received poor legal aid except for one time when advocate Renjith Marar represented Jayanandan in one case,” Nidheesh told Mathrubhumi.com.
He added that it was a very tedious task to get the information. “For the Supreme Court and to some extent the high court, it is easier to get the documents needed. But in the lower courts, it demands a lot of effort. “I had to use all my contacts to get in touch with some of the witnesses. And there were a lot of documents to go through. The team at News Minute helped a lot to edit and rewrite the story," he said.
“Jayanandan has a Wikipedia page. But even that does not mention the fact that he was acquitted in three cases he was charged with. Of the two cases, only one was proved beyond a reasonable doubt in the Supreme Court. Hence, my focus was on that case,” the journalist said.
According to the story of Nidheesh, Jayanandan was nabbed by police officers probing the murder of Puthenvelikkara native Devaki in 2006, based on a tip from a local history-sheeter. He told the police, when questioned, that Jayanandan was behind a twin murder in Mala in 2004 and was part of another murder too. Jayanandan went missing one fine morning and was arrested two days later. Mathrubhumi’s reporter who covered the story during that time said that it was assumed he had been kidnapped. There is no record of his whereabouts for those two days.
The witnesses have told Nidheesh that Jayanandan seemed very weak during evidence collection. Retired DySP RK Krishnakumar in fact narrated the gory details of torture, says Nidheesh.
“I asked him if he was aware that it was a human rights violation. He retoreted whether Jayanandan would have said everything if he was treated with biryani,” said Nidheesh.
The murder was committed to rob the families. In one case, the police could not recover the original gold ornaments that went missing. They presented some molten gold as evidence. They were not tested for DNA samples, the report says. Nidheesh also found that while the gold was admitted as crucial evidence in one court, it was dismissed as inadmissible by another. “In one case, a set of evidence was sufficient for sentencing him to death. The same set of evidence led the case to his acquittal in a higher court. It is a judge that matters to save or end a man’s life,” said Nidheesh.
A crucial witness who told the court that he saw Jayanandan pawning the gold told Nidheesh that it never happened. The witness, who was a pawn shop worker, made the statement as instructed by the shop owner, who is no longer alive.
Regarding the chemical analysis of the evidence, the report says: “Tucked inside the police files was the chemical analysis report of the allegedly ‘blood soaked’ mundu and shirt that were recovered from Jayanandan’s house. The report said that the garments showed no traces of blood. This report, which could have had a bearing on the case, was not brought up during the trial. Chemical analysis showed that there were no bloodstains on the iron bar used in the murder, either. At the trial, the police claimed that it happened as a result of the iron rod coming into contact with water in the house well, where it lay for a day before being discovered. The claim was disputed by Jayanandan’s defence. But the court trusted the police.”
Nidheesh's story has already triggered debate about the controversial "serial murders." The question it leaves in readers' minds is whether this will be enough to reopen such a case and whether 'Ripper' Jayanandan was just a creation of the Kerala Police.