THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: In an unprecedented move that pits the CBI in a head-on confrontation with Kerala police, the central agency has ordered the crime branch to produce the case diary and related documents of the Periya twin murder case after it failed to secure them despite several requests. The Kerala high court had directed transfer of all files in the case to CBI.
The CBI order summoning the files, under Section 91 of the criminal procedure code (CrPC), is seen as a prelude to invoking Section 93 of the CrPC that empowers the agency to undertake a search and seize the documents after obtaining a warrant from the court.
“It is for the first time in Kerala that the agency has been forced to resort to legal recourse, as the state has refused to cooperate even after the agency requested to transfer the case diary several times, both formally and informally. It has seriously hampered the investigation, which is being monitored by the Supreme Court,” said an officer, not wanting to be named.
This move comes even as Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala told the media on Tuesday that the LDF government was on the cusp of bringing an ordinance – similar to the one by the Rajasthan government — to hamstring the CBI, a charge that chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan denied later in the day.
A single bench of the high court had ordered the transfer of investigation of the murder of Youth Congress activists Kripesh and Sarath Lal in Periya, Kasaragod, on February 17, 2019 – allegedly by CPM cadres — to the CBI on September 30, 2019. A division bench and the Supreme Court had subsequently upheld the order.
The CBI had, on the basis of the single bench order, transferred the case from the principal sessions court, Kasaragod, to the chief judicial magistrate court in Ernakulam, where it filed the FIR in the case. However, it needs the original case diary and other documents to take the probe forward.
It is learnt that the latest CBI move was triggered by a communique from state police chief Loknath Behera last week, saying police have doubts about the “mode of transfer” of the case diary to the agency and the matter has been referred to the director general of prosecution for legal opinion. “It could only be seen as a time-buying or delaying tactic on the part of police,” a CBI officer, who requested anonymity, said.
The state police was criticized by the opposition and the victims’ families for not conducting a fair.
Section 91 of CrPC empowers a court or any officer in charge of a police station to issue summons to a person, who is in possession of any document and anything else necessary for any investigation, inquiry, trial or other proceeding.
The state police, on its part, maintained that it has been advised to wait till the Supreme Court disposes of the matter. “The government has moved the Supreme Court and we have received a legal opinion in this regard. On the basis of the legal opinion, we are waiting for the Supreme Court to dispose of the matter,” said Behera.


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