KOTTAYAM: The Kottayam Additional Sessions Court on Wednesday declared that the murder of 24-year-old Kevin P Joseph, who had been annihilated by his wife’s relatives, was a case of honour killing.
Special public prosecutor C S Ajayan had filed the petition in the court on October 29 and the Court accepted the prosecution arguments and plea. The court also instructed the counsel to complete the trial within six months.
If the case is considered as an honour killing, then the trial will have to be done on a day-to-day basis and will have to be completed within six months.
Meanwhile, the defendant’s side argued that it should not be considered as honour killing as both the parties are Christian.
However, the probe team found that the victim is a Dalit Christian and the accused have resorted to racial abuse.
SIT had arrived the conclusion on the basis of the statement given by Aneesh Sebastian, Kevin’s cousin, who was also abducted.
As per statements of Aneesh, Kevin escaped from the gang around 4.45 am on May 27. Though the gang members roamed the area for two to three hours searching for Kevin, they could not find him and hence they left the place by 8 am. In the meantime, Kevin might have fallen in the water.
The charge sheet listed his death as a case of homicidal drowning, amounting to intentional killing. Murder charges have been slapped against all 14 accused. Neenu’s brother Shanu Chacko is the prime accused and his father Chacko is the fifth.
According to charges filed against 12 others, it is said that the accused had chased Kevin and drove him into the river. The prosecution submitted 186 witnesses’ statements and 118 documents based on this case.
The charge sheet said that Kevin, a Dalit Christian from Kottayam, was kidnapped and murdered by a group sent by Sanu Chacko, in separate vehicles just days after Kevin moved papers to marry the former’s sister Neenu Chacko. Later Kevin’s body was found in a river near Thenmala on May 28.
Earlier his family had alleged that laxity on the part of the local police in taking action on a man missing complaint filed by Neenu had resulted in the death of the Kevin.
As part of investigation Sub-inspector, M S Shibu and ASI Sunnymon of the Gandhinagar police station were suspended and Kottayam district superintendent of police V M Mohammed Rafique was transferred following the incident.
Kevin had a register marriage with Neenu Chacko from Thenmala on May 25, as the girl’s comparatively better-off family had violently objected to the marriage.
According to police sources, the Dalit background of the victim, financial disparity between the families may have led to the murder