Setback for Kerala govt; CBI to investigate Periya twin murder case

Parents of Kripesh and Sarath Lal had approached the HC citing dissatisfaction in the Crime Branch investigation and that CPI (M) leaders were involved in the murder conspiracy.

Deceased Kripesh and Sarath Lal. Illustration

Kochi: The Periya twin murder case will be investigated by the CBI. In a major setback to the state government, the High Court Division bench dismissed the state government appeal opposing a CBI probe and upheld the single judge observation.

The HC single bench on September 30, 2019 had cancelled the charge sheet submitted by the Crime Branch and handed over the case to CBI.

Hearing of the appeal petition was completed nine months ago. The government had appointed advocates including the solicitor general. Meanwhile, the accused in the case, including main accused Peethambaran, had approached the HC seeking bail. While considering the bail plea, the CBI had informed the HC that it was unable to continue the investigation due to the delay in the division bench verdict.

The case relates to the murder of Youth Congress workers Kripesh and Sarath Lal, allegedly by CPM workers, on February 17, 2019, at Periya in Kasaragod district. While they were heading to Sarath Lal’s house on a bike, a gang waylaid them on Koorangara road at Kalliott and hacked them around 7.40 pm. Kripesh died on the spot while Sarath Lal died on the way to a hospital in Mangaluru.

A Crime Branch special team had investigated the case. Former CPI (M) local secretary Peethambaran was the main accused. CPI (M) Uduma area secretary K. Manikandan and CPI (M) Periya local committee secretary N. Balakrishnan were among the 14 other accused in the case. Three accused including Manikandan and Balakrishnan were granted bail. The others are in remand.

The charge sheet was submitted 89 days after the murder. The Crime Branch had given a clean chit to CPI (M). However, parents of Kripesh and Sarath Lal approached the HC citing dissatisfaction in the Crime Branch investigation and that CPI (M) leaders were involved in the murder conspiracy.

There is a Supreme Court directive that if the verdict of a case was not announced six months after the hearing was completed, a special petition can be submitted to the Chief Justice. If such a petition is received, the case must be handed over to another bench for another hearing. Based on this, parents of the deceased Youth Congress workers submitted a petition with the HC Chief Justice on Monday.

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