Kochi: A day after finding them guilty, a CBI court here on Friday awarded life imprisonment to two convicts in a case relating to honour killing of a Youth Congress leader for marrying a Muslim woman in Kasargod. The court also imposed a fine of Rs 1 lakh each on Mohammad Iqbal, a native of Chattachal, Kasargod, and Mohammed Haneef of Thalangara, Kasargod. The incident took place on September 18, 2001, when Youth Congress leader Balakrishnan was forcefully taken in a car and stabbed to death. This after the 29-year-old had married daughter of fifth accused Aboobacker belonging to the Muslim community.
“On hearing both sides, the court does not consider this case as rarest of rare cases. The accused are convicted and sentenced to undergo imprisonment for life for the offence under Section 120B of IPC (criminal conspiracy) and imprisonment for life and to pay a fine of Rs 1 lakh each for an offence under Section 302 IPC (Murder). Upon the convicts failing to pay the fine, they have to undergo Rigorous Imprisonment for an additional two years. The fine amount if realised will be paid to Gopalan, father of the victim, as compensation, the court order stated. Earlier the court had acquitted A. Abdul Gafoor alias Gafoor of Thayalandgadi, Kasargod, A.M. Muhammad of Chengala, Kasargod, and Aboobackar Haji of Uppala, Kasargod, for want of evidence.
During arguments over punishment to be awarded, CBI prosecutor K.R. Biju Babu pointed out that Balakrishnan was the only support for his parents- Gopalan and Pankajakshi and hence the convicts be awarded the maximum punishment. However, defence lawyers argued the case does not belong to the ‘rarest of rare’ category which would attract capital punishment. The two convicts were shifted to Kannur Central Jail. “I have no other option but to find solace in the verdict of the court. I lost my child and recently my wife also passed away,” Gopalan, the father of Balakrishnan, said while welcoming the verdict.
Meanwhile, the CBI court issued a notice to two witnesses who turned hostile during the trial after giving statement under Section 164 CrPC. It was following a petition filed by CBI, the court decided to issue notice against Mohammed Kunhi, a Muslim League local leader, and C.A. Abbas, witness No. 25 and 26 in the case. The duo after giving the statement under Section 164 of CrPC before Judicial First Class Magistrate denied the contents of the statement before CBI Court during the trial stage. If found guilty, they could get imprisonment upto seven years.