K Radhakrishnan IPS revealed how the Mohammed Fazal murder was implemented by the CPM and how they have been conspiring and blaming RSS for the murder, since 2006.
Fazal was hacked to death in October of 2006 near the Saidar Mosque in Thalassery, Kannur. He was a former member of CPM, who later joined the National Democratic Front (NDF). The NDF cadre were armed Islamists and their sponsors included the Pakistan ISI and Iran; its founders included former leaders of the now banned Islamic terror outfit SIMI. In 2009, NDF merged with the Popular Front of India (PFI).
The NDF tried hard to fill the radical leadership vacuum created among Muslims in Kerala, especially in Malabar, using guerrilla tactics and inducing a sense of insecurity. These Islamic fundamentalists sent cadres for ISI training, many were accused and arrested in the Coimbatore serial blasts, conducted arms training, transported arms using ambulances, attacked the Kottakkal police station in Malappuram and were the main perpetrators behind the Marad massacre of Hindus.
Fazal’s exit from the CPM created fear among the CPM leaders since they knew that more Muslims would follow him. They used it as an opportunity and inducted more Muslims into the party by killing Fazal and shifting the blame onto the RSS. The case proved a classic example of CPM using its party goons to eliminate political opponents and then misusing civil servants to blame other political parties for their own crimes.
Fazal was hacked to death by CPM members of the CPM ‘Action Group,’ towards the end of Ramadan month in 2006. The killers wore saffron clothes, left a trident at the crime scene and fled after the killing. This was intended to provoke the NDF by presenting an impression that the RSS was behind the murder.
Having ordered DySP K Radhakrishnan to investigate, the CPM leaders led by local ‘Action Group’ bigwig and the local CPM secretary, Karayi Rajan declared that 4 RSS workers were behind the murder. The then Home Minister (HM) Kodiyeri Balakrishnan repeated the same and by evening loudspeaker announcements were heard all over Kannur, that the RSS was behind this political killing. By dusk, the NDF fell for the trick and agreed that it was an RSS murder.
Naturally, Radhakrishnan started off by summoning the ‘accused’ RSS workers Subeesh, Shino, Pramesh and Prabeesh. They were taken into custody, interrogated and their statements recorded, that same night. By morning, officers were verifying and cross-examining those statements.
Radhakrishnan was ordered to appear before Kodiyeri at Kannur PWD guest house. Kodiyeri told him to submit the charge sheet within 7 days since the ‘picture’ was clear. The message was plain: falsely implicate the 4 RSS workers, work as per his orders, and more importantly, inquire no further. Incidentally, Kodiyeri’s elder son Binoy’s rape case and the subsequent DNA report are still pending even after 2 years!
Though Radhakrishan was under the impression that the RSS workers were the actual killers, he also thought that the HM was behaving strangely but he agreed. He reminded himself that police need evidence before they accuse someone.
The police verification that Radhakrishnan had tasked his team to carry out was completed in 3 days. The RSS workers had told him only the truth and their stories matched. There was no way in which the DYSP could implicate them in this case and doing so would be illegal detention. All 4 were released the next day.
After a week, he was summoned again to personally meet Kodiyeri and was asked about the case and Radhakrishnan informed that the investigation was in progress. The HM ordered him to inform him before arresting any party members or comrades and the officer agreed.
By then the perusal of call details had led the police to Karayi Chandrasekaran and Karayi Rajan (both were CPM secretaries) and their gang members led by Kodi Suni. Investigators traced the phone calls of 300 locals and found that Karayi Chandrasekharan’s close aide Kalesh had called Karayi Rajan on his mobile phone at 3.45 am, around the time when Fazal was murdered. Within a few minutes, Rajan, the CPM Thalassery area secretary contacted 3 hospitals in Thalassery.
Fear turns into inaction
The very next day after the RSS workers were let go, officers belonging to his team started to lag in their investigations. Those who were asked to follow up on known criminals came back empty-handed adding that there is no information.
Radhakrishnan personally asked what was happening and his subordinates informed him that CPM goons were targeting their families. Action group goons were visiting their homes and advising women folk to ask their husbands not to indulge in ‘unnecessary matters.’
One officer openly said that he wishes to live. Others reminded the DySP that Fazal died and his family was being taken care of by the CPM, but asked him to imagine their family’s fate. The CPM created fear in the minds of these officers which in turn led to inaction and the officers turned hostile.
Kodi Suni picked up and its aftermath
A couple of days after the second meeting with the HM, the DySP received information that Suni and his friends were drinking at a bar in Mahe. Mahe borders Talassery and the information came at 2 AM. Radhakrishnan took 2 officers unrelated to the Fazal murder investigation team and apprehended Kodi Suni.
Interrogation confirmed what Radhakrishnan suspected. Karayi Chandrasekaran and Karayi Rajan conspired and used Suni and his accomplices to eliminate Fazal. This is exactly what the report filed before the Special CBI Court by the Special Investigation Team said last week, 15 years later.
The CBI confirmed that the then Kannur DySP PP Sadanandhan, Thalassery DySP Prince Abraham and Koothuparamba CI Suresh Babu KP are accused of falsely implicating the RSS workers. They extracted fabricated confessions using third-degree torture against the RSS workers.
Case handed over to the Crime Branch
By 12 that noon, Radhakrishnan was summoned by Kodiyeri and asked to hand over the Fazal investigations to the Crime Branch. The then IG Rishiraj Singh asked Radhakrishnan to hand over the case diary and it took a week to clear all his doubts. Rishiraj sat on that case diary for almost a year and did nothing.
Months passed and when nothing concrete happened, Fazal’s family approached the Kerala High court and asked for a CBI inquiry. Sensing danger, the CPM promised action and arrested three of their own goons namely Kodi Suni (CPM hitman), Biju and Jitesh.
The CPM tried hard but ultimately the case was handed over to the CBI in July 2010 and 3 more goons, Arundas, Kalesh and Arunkumar were arrested. Both Karayi Rajan and Karayi Chandrasekharan were later booked by the CBI for conspiracy.
Attack on an officer
December 14, 2006 was a Bharat Bandh and Radhakrishnan who was on leave was asked to join duty at Thalassery. He reported at 6 AM and took over law and order duties. He visited all checkpoints and sporadic incidents of mischief kept him busy till dusk. The bandh meant that hotels were not open and on his way back home late into the night, he decided to have food from a friend’s place.
Radhakrishnan and his driver Ramachandran went to his friend Rajesh’s house. CPM action group members numbering around 60 attacked all three of them and they were brutally beaten. Radhakrishnan says that he fought the assailants but lost consciousness when he was hit on his face. They stripped him naked and hit the unconscious DySP all over his back.
Rajesh died after 15 days while his driver succumbed within a year and Radhakrishnan spent a year-and-a-half in therapy. His nose was shattered and his spine was broken and he still needs a belt to support his back. Though the Thalassery police station was just one km away, police reached the scene 2 hours later.
The CPM workers had brought a woman and they said that the DySP was beaten for indulging in ‘immoral activities’. Thaikandy Balakrishnan, the Vice Chairman of Taliparamba Municipality told the police that he heard a woman scream and that neighbors peeped through an open window (at 11 pm) and found a woman and two males lying stark naked on the bed.
He alleged that the DySP was having sex while the other man was fondling her. They claimed that upon forcing open the front door they found two more men and 12 liquor bottles of various brands and glasses on the table. The police were informed and they took all four men and the woman to a hospital.
The CPM regime suspended Radhakrishnan. He took the case to the high court, who summoned the lady 4 times but she failed to appear. The High Court dismissed the immoral trafficking case filed against Radhakrishnan and observed that the case was nothing but political vendetta with the intention of maligning a dutiful officer.
The court asked what the provocation was for the locals to keep a watch on Rajesh’s house even before the arrival of the visitors and asked why they would they offer a free show to the locals by keeping the windows open and the lights on? Yet, no action was taken against the perpetrators.
Thalassery is the hometown of both Kodiyeri Balakrishnan and Pinarayi Vijayan and has seen several Hindu-Muslim riots in the past. The idea behind Fazal’s murder was to create political gains by projecting the CPM as the sole protector of Muslims.
These leaders used the communal angle and repeated the same later in 2012 when Kodi Suni and his goons are suspected to be the ones who eliminated another CPM rebel leader, T P Chandrasekharan who was hacked 51 times. This time around, CPM blamed Muslim extremists for the killing.
(In the next article in this series, we will dive deeper into how IPS officer K Radhakrishnan was hounded by CPM, even after this brutal assault in 2006)