India: Cop convicted of murdering Maoist 40 years ago

[In India, the wheels of justice turn exceedingly slow.  And in this case, the wheels would not have turned at all, except that the cop (who is now deceased) who did the killing, in a fit of guilt and remorse, told the story which brought the murderous orders of his commander to light.  This article does not connect this history with the “fake encounters” still being committed by police today.–ed]

K Lakshmana was found guilty of murder

October 28, 2010
Former IG gets life term for Naxal murder

Varghese was gunned downed by police in what they had then called as encounter

Former inspector general of police K. Lakshmana was  sentenced to life imprisonment by a CBI court here on Thursday for killing Maoist leader A. Verghese in a fake encounter 40 years ago.

This is the first time a senior police officer has been convicted for life for killing a rebel in a fake encounter.

Soon after CBI judge S. Vijayakumar gave the verdict, Lakshmana (78) was sent to the Thiruvananthapuram central jail.

Verghese’s brother A. Thomas said he was happy. “It is a lesson for those in khaki who take the law into their own hands,” he said.

Sakhavu Varghese, murdered by police (1970)

Former Maoist and activist K. Ajitha also described the verdict as a historic one. “It is an eye-opener. Though late, this will help many such aggrieved families get justice,” she said.

The judgment, which comes at a time when the country faces a renewed and a vastly strengthened variety of Naxalism, stressed the dedication and care required to deal with such a threat.

The police shot dead Verghese, then a 28-year-old political activist, in the Tirunelli forests (in northern Wayanad district) in February 1970, and said he had been killed in a shootout.

But former head constable Ramachandran Nair, probably under the stress of a guilty conscience, revealed in 1998 that he had killed Verghese on the orders of his superiors, especially Lakshmana, who was then a deputy superintendent of police. Lakshmana was later inducted into the Indian Police Service.

After Nair’s disclosure, A. Thomas moved the Kerala High Court seeking a CBI probe. The CBI prepared a charge-sheet against Nair, Lakshmana and P. Vijayan (83), who was the state’s director general of police in the 1980s. Continue reading