Man beaten to death by Kannur MPís gunman was not a pick-pocket, says family
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While the victim was alleged to have stolen some money, a key witness to the incident, however, said no pick-pocketing had taken place inside the bus.
Sudhakaran, meanwhile, came to the rescue of his gunman Satheesh saying he was innocent. "It is common in Kerala to manhandle pick-pockets. What the bus passengers executed is the common punishment for thieves. My gunman had only gone to rescue him. The CPM has falsely fixed the blame on my gunman,'' Sudhakaran said.
Family of the deceased, Raghu (37), said he was "murdered for carrying nearly Rs 20,000 which he had collected after pledging his ring with a bank". Raghu's friend Balan told the media that on August 26 Raghu had given him a ring of one-and-half sovereign to pledge with a cooperative bank for Rs 10,000. "He entrusted the ring with me as I am a member of the cooperative bank in Palakkad. On Monday, he paid the interest for the gold loan and renewed it for Rs 19,000. I had given him the amount,'' said Balan.
Quoting bus conductor F Shinas, police sources said there was no incident of pick-pocketing. "But the accused had claimed they had lost money. A mobile phone had gone missing, which they got back. We are yet to verify their claims," they said.
Shinas's account of the incident differed from Sudhakaran's version. "The victim and one of the accused were sitting in the same seat when the bus left Thrissur. A few people told me that they had seen a person (the victim) picking up a mobile phone from the pocket of another passenger (Santosh), who was half asleep. I went to the passenger and asked him to see whether his mobile phone was in pocket. The phone was found lying on the bus floor. The passenger, who had lost the mobile, manhandled the other person (Raghu), while others prevented him. I had asked the passenger (later identified as the accused) whether he had any complaint. Since there was no complaint, the bus continued its journey until Perumbavoor, where both of them alighted,'' he said.
Shinas on Tuesday identified Satheesh and Santosh as the passengers who had got down at Perumbavoor along with the victim.
Another eyewitness at the bus stand told the police that the accused were seen severely beating up the victim after tying his hands. After he collapsed, they tried to flee from the scene. However, both of them were caught by the people and handed over to the police.
The police said the post-mortem report said Raghu had died due to internal haemorrhage from the torture. The police said they are looking for another person, who is also involved in the attack.
This is the second time that Sudhakaran's gunman has been blamed for murder. In 1993, his gunman John Joseph had allegedly shot at CPM leader Nalpady Vasu in Kannur during a party programme.
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