While a division bench of the Kerala High Court on Friday ruled out the need for a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the brutal murder of a Youth Congress worker, Shuhaib, in Kannur last year, the victim's father and the Congress party has said they will approach the Supreme Court against the order.
Congress worker Shuhaib was brutally murdered on the night of February 12 last year and the police had arrested 17 people, most of them local level CPI-M workers.
This fresh development has come as a huge relief for the Pinarayi Vijayan government as this murder took place in Mr Vijayan's home district and the local Congress leadership has alleged a conspiracy to cover-up the case.
Following the state government's refusal to go ahead with a CBI probe, the family of the victim and the Kannur Congress party leadership approached a single bench of the Kerala High Court and then Justice B. Kemal Pasha ordered a CBI probe into the incident on March 7 last year.
Shocked by the single bench verdict, the Kerala government then approached the division bench of the Kerala High Court, which granted a stay on Justice Pasha's verdict.
Speaking to the media on Friday after the division bench refused the CBI probe, the the Kerala government counsel said that the court noted that there had been no efforts on the petitioner's part to vacate the stay.
"Moreover, the petitioner was unable to buttress their plea that there was a conspiracy behind the murder, with any evidence for it," said the counsel.
Asked about the new order, Pasha, who has since retired said he had nothing to say about Friday's directive as it has been delivered by the appeals court.
Speaking to the media, Shuhaib's father, Mohammed, however said that he and his party (Congress) have decided to approach the Supreme Court to challenge this order and will fight the case till a CBI probe is ordered.
"It's common knowledge that the Kerala government is fighting against a CBI probe. As they all know, if it happens then their top leaders would be behind bars. We will fight for a CBI probe," said Mohammed.
Welcoming the new directive, former Kannur CPI-M district secretary P. Jayarajan said that this directive should be seen as a feather in the cap of the Kerala police which did a clean job.
"The CPI-M then had made its position clear in the case. And we even ousted those party members who were arrested in the case," said Jayarajan, who was the Kannur party district secretary at the time of the incident.
Kannur Lok Sabha MP and senior Congress leader K. Sudhakaran, who went on a hunger strike at the time demanding a CBI probe, said that it should be noted that the Kerala government brought in a lawyer from Delhi to argue the case.
"We are certain that there was a conspiracy in the case and a good majority of those who have been arrested are all dummy accused and the real culprits are out. We will go in appeal against this verdict in the Supreme Court," said Sudhakaran.
The Congress party had used this murder case in a big way to attack Vijayan for shielding the real accused.