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Naxal Varghese case convict Lakshmana freed

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Naxal Varghese case convict Lakshmana freed
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Thiruvananthapuram: Former Inspector General of Police R Lakshmana, sentenced for life in 2010 in the fake encounter killing of a Naxalite, was freed from prison here Friday on an amnesty extended to convicts who have crossed 70 years of age and are in poor health.

Lakshmana was sentenced to life imprisonment three decades after the killing of Naxalite Verghese in Wayanad in 1970, based on a confession made by a CRPF constable.

According to authorities of the Central Prison here, Lakshmana and another convict, serving jail term in a different case, were freed this morning based on an order issued by the government under relevant provisions of Kerala Prison Rules.

One of the most prominent faces of the Naxalite insurgency

in the late 1960s in Kerala, Verghese was shot dead by police at the forest-fringe hamlet Kattikkulam in Wayanad on February 18, 1970. It was then written off as an 'encounter death' without any investigation.

The case, however, had a surprising revival in 1998 when retired constable Ramchandran Nair, who was present at the spot where Verghese was killed, revealed through media that the Naxal activist was shot dead in cold blood.

Nair confessed that Verghese was rounded up, his limbs were bound and shot dead by him on orders from higher officials, including Lakshmana, who was then SP in the district.

Based on a private petition, Kerala High Court ordered a CBI investigation and the former constable's claim was corroborated by some of his colleagues who were witness to the killing.

Nair, who was arraigned as the first accused in the case, died before the trial was concluded.

Lakshmana, who figured as second accused, was sentenced to life imprisonment by a CBI court, which was later upheld by the High Court and he was put behind bars in October, 2010.

PTI

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