Kerala High Court dismisses plea challenging CBI probe into Congress workers' murders

PTI  | Deccan Chronicle

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A division bench, however, accepted an interim probe report of the Special Investigation Team

Kerala High Court

Kochi: In a setback to the LDF government, the Kerala High Court on Tuesday dismissed its plea challenging a single bench order directing a CBI probe into the killing of two Youth Congress workers in Kasaragod last year.

A division bench, comprising Chief Justice S Manikumar and C T Ravikumar, however, accepted an interim probe report of the Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the state crime branch, which investigated the case initially, and directed the CBI to conduct further inquiry.

The court took note of the "serious slackness and incompleteness" that occurred in the matter of investigation.

Noting that after the passing of the judgment, the CBI has already re-registered the crime, the court said, "Hence, we will have to permit CBI to conduct further investigation based on re-registration of the aforesaid case already done by them pursuant to the impugned judgment."

Upholding the transfer of the investigation to CBI, the bench directed the agency to conduct 'further investigation' based on the re-registration of the case and file supplementary report in terms of the provisions under Section 173(8), CrPC.

"This shall be done as expeditiously as possible, taking note of the fact that already a report under Section 173(2), CrPC has been filed by SIT of Crime Branch, Kasaragod.

Though we brought back life to the said report and held that cognizance has to be taken thereon we are of the view that, in view of the nature of the case, the court must wait till the receipt of the 'supplementary report' of the CBI to be submitted after 'further investigation'," the court said.

Observing serious lapses in the police investigation, the High Court last September handed over the case to the Central agency after dismissing the charge sheet filed by the crime branch.

The single bench ordered the CBI probe into the case while allowing a petition filed by the parents of the slain Youth Congress workers.

Sarath Lal and Kripesh were hacked to death on February 17, 2019 in Kasaragod allegedly by CPI(M) workers.

In its appeal against the single bench order, the government had alleged that the entire findings of the bench were based on surmises and conjectures, and not supported by any material and it had not considered the material on record including the case diary.

The CBI, which re-registered the case on October 23, 2019 following the court order, had accused the state police of not handing over the necessary documents needed for the investigation.

The CBI had mentioned the alleged non-cooperation by the crime branch wing of the Kerala police in the status report of the probe submitted by its investigation officer before the Chief Judicial Magistrate Court here. The Congress and its ally, the IUML, have welcomed the judgment.