Kozhikode: In a setback to CPI(M) in Kerala, three of its local functionaries and eight others were on Tuesday sentenced to life imprisonment by a special court in the sensational TP Chandrasekharan murder case.
In a keenly awaited verdict, judge R Narayana Pisharodi held "political animosity" as the motive for the murder of the CPI(M) rebel who floated the Revolutionary Marxist Party challenging the parent party`s supremacy in the red fortress Onchiyam in Kozhikode district in north Kerala.
One of the 12 found guilty in the case was given three years imprisonment.
Noting that the deceased was the leader of "an emerging political party", the judgement said "motive of the crime was political animosity..."
The judge held that the first seven accused, who executed the murder, were "tools in the hands of the persons who entertained political enmity towards the deceased".
They were found guilty under IPC sections 302 (murder), 143 (unlawful assembly) and 147 (rioting).
One of the 12 accused found guilty by the special judge was awarded three years` imprisonment.
When the court pronounced the conviction last week, the CPI(M) had taken the outcome as a relief as several of its local functionaries who figured as accused were acquitted.
The party activists sentenced to life imprisonment were PK Kunhanandan, an area committee member from Panur in Kannur district, KC Ramachandran, a local committee secretary and Manoj, a branch secretary.
Chandrasekharan, a former CPI(M) wholetimer, was hacked to death by a seven-member gang on May 4, 2012 under cover of darkness. The killers had come in a hired car and fled after hacking him to death, inflicting 51 cuts on his body.
The murder cast a shadow on the CPI(M) in the state firmly controlled by state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan with not only political rivals but its own senior leader VS Achuthanandan using it as a weapon to attack the internal foes.
Reacting to the sentence, Chandrasekharan`s widow KK Rema said it came as relief to a certain extent in view of CPI(M) leaders` claim that their party had no involvement in the conspiracy to annihilate her husband.