Arrest of Jayarajan, Rajesh imminent, says Chennithala

Says Speaker’s consent not required in Rajesh’s case

Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala on Tuesday said the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) did not require the prior consent of the Assembly Speaker to arrest legislator T.V. Rajesh, an accused in the murder of Abdul Shukkoor.

P. Jayarajan, the party’s high profile district secretary in Kannur, was another suspect in the case along with 33 others, most of them local CPI(M) activists.

Mr. Chennithala told journalists that the arrest of the suspects ‘‘were imminent’’ and Mr. Rajesh had no special legal protection. The CBI required the Speaker’s permission only if it planned to arrest the MLA from the Assembly or the hostel for legislators.

Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) legislator and Deputy Leader of the Opposition M.K. Muneer said the indictment of the two top CPI(M) leaders for conspiracy and murder in the case that involved the elements of a show trial and public lynching could prompt the resurgence of political violence in north Kerala.

‘‘The CPI(M) was sure to unleash violence to intimidate witnesses and prosecutors. The CBI should shift the trial from its special court in Thalassery to a more safe and neutral locality,’’ he said.

Both leaders accused Speaker P. Sivaramakrishnan of blatant political partisanship for having denied the Opposition’s motion to adjourn the House to discuss the arraignment of the MLA and the perilous legacy of tit-for-tat political violence in Kannur.

Mr. Chennithala said 27 CPI(M) and BJP workers had lost their lives in mafia-style hit-and-run political murders in north Kerala since the LDF government came to power in 2016.

They said the murder of Shukkoor was particularly cruel. Mr. Chennithala alleged that the CPI(M) leadership ordered the teenager’s public trial and death on the suspicion that the youngster had stoned the car in which Mr. Jayarajan and Mr. Rajesh were travelling through the locality on February 20, 2012.

‘‘It was a high profile act of terrorism meant to instil fear in their political rivals,’’ Mr. Chennithala said.

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