The Kerala High Court on Friday discharged CPI(M) MLA and former Electricity Minister of the State M M Mani and two others in a case connected with the murder of Anchery Baby, a Congress leader from Idukki, in 1982.

"On an evaluation of the material available, there is no ground for presuming that the accused committed the offence and, therefore, they were entitled to be discharged", holds Justice Sunil Thomas.

The High Court order came following revision petitions moved by Mani, Kuttappan, and O G Madhanan challenging dismissal by a Sessions Court of their plea for discharge in a 2012 case registered in connection with the murder of Anchery Baby.

In 1986, the Sessions Court acquitted all the nine accused in the murder case and the appeal of the State against the same was dismissed by the High Court in 1990.

In 2012, Mani, speaking at a public meeting in Idukki, referred to several political killings, including that of Baby, and based on the speech a case was registered naming the CPI(M) leader as an accused in the murder of the Congress leader in 1982.

In the 2012 case, the prosecution projected three of the nine accused in the 1982 case as witnesses, claiming that they were wrongly arrayed as accused in the earlier case.

But, an eyewitness said the three accused turned witnesses were among the assailants who attacked Baby.

"This is a self-contradictory and mutually damaging version to the prosecution case itself," the High Court held.

It further held that, "In the case at hand, it is clear that a few witnesses have deposed touching on the complicity of the newly arrayed accused (Mani and others). At the same time, they themselves reaffirmed the presence of some of the present prosecution witnesses, who earlier stood arrayed as accused."

"This not only strikes at the very base of the prosecution case but also tells on the credibility of them. With these material, a trial of accused is not possible. In the result, criminal revision petitions are allowed. Impugned orders are set aside and the discharge application stands allowed. All the revision petitioners/ accused stand discharged," states the judgment.

Click here to read/download the Order

With PTI inputs