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TP murder: 3 CPM men among 11 given life term

In a setback to CPM in Kerala, three of its local functionaries and eight others were on Tuesday sentenced to life imprisonment by a special court in the sensational T P Chandrasekharan murder case. 

In a keenly awaited verdict, judge R Narayana Pisharodi held "political animosity" as the motive for the murder of the CPM rebel who floated the Revolutionary Marxist Party challenging the parent party's supremacy in the red fortress Onchiyam in Kozhikode district in north Kerala. 

One of the 12 found guilty in the case was given three years imprisonment. 

Noting that the deceased was the leader of "an emerging political party", the judgement said "motive of the crime was political animosity..." 

The judge held that the first seven accused, who executed the murder, were "tools in the hands of the persons who entertained political enmity towards the deceased". 

They were found guilty under IPC sections 302 (murder),143 (unlawful assembly) and 147 (rioting). 

The three CPM functionaries were found guilty under IPC section 120-B (conspiracy) read with 302 (murder). 

One of the 12 accused found guilty by the special judge was awarded three years' imprisonment. 

When the court pronounced the conviction last week, the CPM had taken the outcome as a relief as several of its local functionaries who figured as accused were acquitted. 

The party activists sentenced to life imprisonment were P K Kunhanandan, an area committee member from Panur in Kannur district, K C Ramachandran, a local committee secretary and Manoj, a branch secretary. 

Chandrasekharan, a former CPM wholetimer, was hacked to death by a seven-member gang on May 4, 2012 under cover of darkness. The killers had come in a hired car and fled after hacking him to death, inflicting 51 cuts on his body. 

The murder cast a shadow on the CPM in the state firmly controlled by state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan with not only political rivals but its own senior leader V S Achuthanandan using it as a weapon to attack the internal foes. 

Reacting to the sentence, Chandrasekharan's widow K K Rema said it came as relief to a certain extent in view of CPM leaders' claim that their party had no involvement in the conspiracy to annihilate her husband. 

Reacting to the verdict, state Home Minister and KPCC President Ramesh Chennithala said the CPM's role in the murder has become clearly evident from the judgement. 

He congratulated the police team that investigated the case for bringing out the conspiracy behind the murder. 

CPM politburo member Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said the outcome of the case has set at rest the allegations levelled against the party by rivals. 

He said the party would challenge in the higher court the sentencing of three of its functionaries. 

The Chandrasekharan murder had not only put the Kerala CPI-M on the defensive for long but also sharpened the factional war between Vijayan and the veteran Achuthanandan. 

Causing annoyance to the party leadership, the nonagenarian leader had then called on the family members of the deceased and publicly shared their sorrow. 

Despite strong resentments voiced by the party, he had kept on issuing statements time and again casting the party leadership in the shadow of suspicion over the murder. 

Significantly, just a couple of days ago the party had admonished him for backing the demand of Chandrasekharan's widow for a CBI probe to unearth the "conspiracy" behind her husband's murder. 
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