The Kerala High Court has directed the State Police Chief and DGP of Kerala to personally review the progress of the investigation into the murder of RSS worker Sanjith in Palakkad last year. The Court has also directed the State Police Chief to file fortnightly reports to the Court until all the accused are arrested.

"...the second respondent is directed to personally review the progress in apprehending the remaining accused and will file fortnightly reports to this Court till the last accused is arrested", Justice K. Haripal has directed.

Though the order was passed on May 5, it was made available today. The order was passed in a plea by the wife of the deceased seeking a CBI inquiry into the murder, involving the Popular Front of India (PFI) and its political wing, the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI). The Court has declined to transfer the investigation to the CBI from the state police.

While declining the plea for CBI inquiry, the Court noted that though the SDPI and PFI are extremist organisations indulging in violence, they are not banned organisations. "No doubt, SDPI and PFI are extremist organisations indulging in serious acts of violence. All the same, those are not banned organisations", the Court held.

Sanjith was murdered on November 15, 2021 while he was travelling on a bike along with his wife. He was hacked to death in front of his wife.

Senior Counsel S. Sreekumar appeared for the petitioner while Senior Advocate Gracious Kuriakose, the Additional Director General of Prosecution appeared for the state.

The Court noted that accused Nos. 8 to 11 and 15 to 19 are yet to be arrested, out of the 20 accused in the cases. Accused Nos. 1 to 5, who committed the murder have been arrested. The sixth accused, the main conspirator along with the first accused has also been arrested.

The state submitted before the Court that though the names of SDPI and PFI were not disclosed in the first information statement and were not incorporated in the FIR, the subsequent reports indicate their roles. It was also submitted that there is no evidence to establish the role of other leaders of the SDPI and PFI of the State or other States.

The Court notes in the judgment that fierce rivalry exists in the area where the murder happened, between the RSS and the SDPI/PFI and that a series of attacks and counter-attacks have been taken place between them.

The Court noted that in the previous attack against the deceased, though the deceased did not reveal the involvement of any extremist organisation, the police had brought out the involvement of SDPI/PFI. It was the case of the Petitioner, wife of the deceased that had the previous case been properly investigated, the murder would not have taken place.

The Court noted that the police acted with the determination that the culprits should not get default bail. "All the prime accused are arrested and the Ext.P4 final report was laid well within the statutory period which prevented the accused from getting default bail. There are reasons to believe that investigating agency had acted promptly with a determination that the culprits should not get default bail".

The Court took judicial notice of the violence between the SDPI/PFI and the RSS in the state and the two recent murders that happened in the Palakkad district.

The Court held that merely because the accused are activists of the SDPI/PFI, the investigation cannot be handed over to the CBI, as a matter of course. The Court also held that the investigating agency does not appear to have any special interest in the case or is shielding the culprits.

"Moreover, allegation that investigation was conducted in a most ineffective and defective manner etc. are lacking particulars. Only vague and sweeping contentions have been raised on the score", the Court held while noting that there is no allegation that the police have acted in a biased manner.

While dismissing the plea for CBI inquiry, the Court observed that though as per the prosecution, the accused who are yet to be arrested have played less important roles in the crime, they have to be arrested and brought before the Court. The Court posted the matter to 30 May for the report of the State Police Chief.

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