Kasaragod: In a big blow to the ruling CPI(M) in Kerala, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), probing the Periya double murder case, on Wednesday arrested five of its party members in connection with the crime, it was reported on Thursday.
The party has denied the involvement of any of its leaders or cadres in the crime.
The CBI had made its first arrest in the case exactly a year after taking over the case from the state crime branch on the direction of the High Court which was ratified by the apex court. Three among the five arrested were ‘prosecution witness’ named in the charge sheet filed by the crime branch.
According to sources, the arrested include the party’s Echiladukkam branch secretary Rajesh alias Raju, Reji Varghese, Surendran alias Vishnu Sura, who is a friend of first accused A Peethambaran; Sastha Madhu, paternal uncle of fifth accused Giji and M Hariprasad.
The case which the local police and then the Crime Branch of Kerala police had investigated involved a group of people, in connivance with local (CPI+M) leaders, hacked to death the two Youth Congress workers in Periya in Kasaragod district- Kripesh and Sarath Lal, on February 17, 2019.
Citing lapses in the investigation by the Crime Branch the parents of the victims had approached the High Court seeking a CBI investigation in the case. They alleged that many who were involved in the crime were not listed as accused in the crime. Acting on the petition, a single bench of the court had ordered a CBI investigation on September 30.
Though the state government had appealed against the single bench order, a division bench of the Kerala High Court had dismissed the plea by the state government against the order of a single bench directing a CBI probe.
However, the State Government filed its appeal in the apex court against the division bench order upholding its single bench order permitting a CBI probe. Expressing surprise over the State’s motives behind trying to block the CBI inquiry, the apex court observed shock and anguish over the non-transfer of case diaries to the CBI despite the High Court order permitting a CBI investigation.