Convicts in T P Chandrasekharan case not being considered for remission: Kerala govt

The Kerala government on Thursday suspended three jail officials for allegedly including three convicts from the high-profile T P Chandrasekharan murder case in a remission list, amidst opposition outcry in the State Assembly accusing the Left dispensation of complicity in the process.
T P Chandrasekharan
T P Chandrasekharan

Thiruvananthapuram | The Kerala government on Thursday suspended three jail officials for allegedly including three convicts from the high-profile T P Chandrasekharan murder case in a remission list, amidst opposition outcry in the State Assembly accusing the Left dispensation of complicity in the process.

In a statement in the Assembly, the government clarified that none of the convicts in the 2012 murder case were being considered for remission of sentence.

The clarification by State Local Self Government Department Minister M B Rajesh, on behalf of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, came in response to a submission in the Assembly by Leader of Opposition V D Satheesan.

Satheesan, in his submission, sought an assurance from the government that the convicts in the Chandrasekharan case will not be granted any remission for any reason whatsoever.

He said that the government's alleged attempt to grant remission in sentence to the convicts was done without knowledge of the Assembly and bypassing the law made by it prohibiting the same.

He further said that when the UDF raised the issue on Tuesday as part of its motion to adjourn the House and discuss the matter, the government had claimed that it was all a speculation by the opposition.

Responding to the submissions by Satheesan, Rajesh said that the government had decided to commute the sentences of some prisoners in various jails in the state on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of India's independence.

Accordingly, a list of prisoners to be considered as per the criteria laid down in a government order of November 2022 for commuting the sentence or premature release was made available by the Head of Prisons.

As the list included ineligible persons, the Additional Chief Secretary, Home, had on June 3 directed the Head of Prisons to submit a revised list by strictly following the norms, Rajesh said.

He also said that the Kannur Jail Superintendent's decision to seek a probation report from Kannur City Police Commissioner regarding the convicts in the Chandrasekharan killing case was not according to the norms.

An explanation was sought from the Kannur Jail Superintendent, he added.

The minister also said that the Head of Prisons issued a press release on June 22 stating that the final list of those eligible for remission will be provided to the government after removing the names of those convicted for killing Chandrasekharan.

He further stated that Joint Superintendent K S Sreejith, Assistant Superintendent Grade-1 B G Arun and Assistant Prison Officer O V Raghunath, who were responsible for preparing the wrong list and seeking a police report, have been ordered to be suspended from service pending an investigation.

"A revised list of prisoners according to the 2022 norms has not come up for consideration before the government for granting commutation of sentences on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of independence.

"Therefore, the convicts in the Chandrasekharan killing case are not being considered for remission. Allegations in this regard are baseless," Rajesh said in the House.

However, when Satheesan sought to rebut the minister's contention, before staging a walkout, the LDF MLAs started shouting, prompting many UDF MLAs to troop into the well of the House in protest holding up placards which said 'you can kill, but you cannot defeat'.

The protest continued for a while till Speaker A N Shamseer returned to the Chair and allowed Satheesan to resume his walkout speech.

Despite the Left government dismissing the UDF's claims as mere speculation and the Additional Chief Secretary, Home, requesting a revised list on June 3, the opposition leader has raised concerns that K K Rema, the widow of T P Chandrasekharan, was asked three times--on June 21, 22, and 26--regarding the potential remission of sentence for the convicts in her husband's murder case.

Satheesan said that this indicated that the government was still planning to grant remission to the convicts and in protest, he and his party were staging a walkout.

Rajesh, reacting to the opposition's walkout, said that the UDF came to the House prepared with placards as part of its plan to create a scene and mislead the public, despite the government having made it clear that the convicts in the Chandrasekharan killing case were not being considered for remission.

Shamseer had on Tuesday allowed the UDF to raise the issue as a submission while denying permission to its motion to adjourn the House and discuss the matter.

The Kerala government's purported move to grant remission to three of the 12 convicts sentenced to life in the T P Chandrasekharan murder case of 2012 had on Saturday kicked off a political storm in the state with the Congress-led UDF and the BJP criticising the Left administration over it.

The UDF had said that it was a "strange" decision on the part of the government as considering the convicts for remission would be a violation of the high court verdict denying it to them.

While handing out life sentences to the 12 convicts in the case, the high court in its February 27 order had said that nine of them would not be entitled to remission before completing 20 years of imprisonment.

Of the nine, T K Rajeesh, K K Muhammed Shafi and S Sijith are the three convicts being purportedly considered for remission.

Chandrasekharan (52), leader of the Revolutionary Marxist Party, was hacked to death by a gang while he was returning home on his bike in 2012.

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