Soumya case: Congress sharpens attack against LDF govttext_fields
Thiruvananthapuram: Congress Saturday sharpened its attack against the LDF government on alleged lapses in conduct of the Soumya rape and murder case in the Supreme Court, saying the present debate by CPI(M) on the death penalty was an attempt to "cover up" their slip and divert public anger.
KPCC president V M Sudheeran, opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala and former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy continued to attack the government over the case, in which the apex court had commuted the death sentence of the accused, Govindachamy. Chandy, who visited Soumyas mother Sumathy at her home in Shornur Saturday, said the government had committed "serious lapses" in dealing with the case.
The stand taken against the death sentence by various CPI(M) leaders, including veteran V S Achuthanandan, indirectly amounted to accepting the apex courts verdict, he said. "CPI(M) is now trying to divert the public anger (through debate over death sentence)," Chandy said. Stating that difference of opinion among CPI(M) leaders over the death sentence also contributed to the governments setback in the case, Sudheeran argued that ideological stand should not be a barrier to ensure maximum punishment to the accused.
The leader said that the recent setback in the case cannot be viewed as a coincidence. Echoing similar sentiments, Chennithala said if the government failed to ensure maximum punishment to the accused, it would trigger a sense of insecurity among women in the state. "The present debate by CPI(M) leaders over whether or not to award death sentence to the accused is an attempt to cover up the governments failure in handling the case properly," he said, adding the government should now atleast take some steps to ensure that the accused gets maximum punishment.
According to the prosecution, Govindachamy had raped Soumya, a 23-year old sales representative after pushing her out from a running train on February 1, 2011. The Thrissur trial court had sentenced him to death, which was upheld by the Kerala High Court. The Supreme Court, however, commuted his death sentence, while upholding the life imprisonment. The verdict had come as a shock to the entire state with the victims mother terming it as "heart breaking".
Political parties have attacked the government, accusing it of not properly presenting the case in the Supreme Court. However, senior CPI(M) leader V S Achuthanandan and M A Baby came against awarding death sentence to the accused, triggering a debate. Meanwhile, Kerala Law minister A K Balan is in New Delhi. He is scheduled to meet senior lawyers and holding consultations with regard to filing of a review petition in the case.