Alappuzha (Ker) | A Kerala court on Saturday found 15 men guilty of killing a BJP OBC wing leader in this coastal district in December 2021.
The convicted persons are associated with the now-banned radical Islamist group, Popular Front of India (PFI).
Ranjith Sreenivasan, the BJP OBC Morcha state secretary, was brutally attacked and killed in his home on December 19, 2021, in front of his family, allegedly by activists affiliated with PFI and Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI).
The verdict was delivered by the Mavelikkara Additional District judge V G Sreedevi. The quantum of punishment will be pronounced on Monday.
According to the Special Prosecutor Prathap G Padickal, the court found that out of the 15 people, accused one to eight were directly involved in the case.
The court also found four people (Accused number nine to 12) guilty of murder because they, along with those directly involved in the crime, came to the spot armed with deadly weapons.
Their objective was to prevent Sreenivasan from escaping and stop anyone entering the house after hearing his screams.
The court accepted the prosecution's argument that they were also liable for the common offense of murder under IPC Section 149 (Every member of unlawful assembly guilty of offence committed in prosecution of common object), Padickal said.
The court also found three persons (Accused number 13 to 15) who hatched the conspiracy for this crime to be convicted of murder.
As a result, the court found all the 15 accused in the case guilty of murder, Padickal said.
They were also found guilty under various other sections of the Indian Penal Code.
After the court announced the decision, the prosecution argued that killing an innocent person in front of his own mother, infant, and wife in an extremely cruel and diabolical manner falls within the ambit of the rarest of the rarest of crimes, and the maximum punishment under the Indian Penal Code should be given to the accused persons, the prosecutor said.
Reacting to the verdict, the family of Sreenivasan expressed hope that the guilty would be given the maximum punishment.
The BJP also welcomed the court's decision and hoped that the departed party leader's family will get justice.
The BJP leader's murder occurred just hours after SDPI leader K S Shan was killed by a gang on the night of December 18 while he was returning home in Alappuzha.