Mani held, sent to custody till Dec 4

Senior CPM leader M M Mani, who has been charged with murder in the wake of his speech that the party had a history of killing political rivals, was arrested in Idukki district on Wednesday.

After being nabbed from his house in the morning, Mani was produced before a magistrate court, which remanded him in judicial custody till December 4. Deploring the arrest, the CPM called for a dawn-to-dusk hartal in Idukki district on Thursday.

Last week, the police had served a notice to Mani, who was removed from the party as district secretary in the wake of the controversial admission, to undergo polygraph test. Mani had rejected the police notice on health ground.

The arrest was in connection with the murder of youth congress leader Ancheri Baby, who was shot dead by rivals in 1982. Mani, in his speech on May 25 to explain the party stand on the killing of rebel leader T P Chandrasekharan, had recalled some of the political murders in Idukki district in the 1980s. He had boasted that the party had prepared a list of 13 rivals to be murdered.

Subsequently, the police reopened the murder case of Baby and Mani was charged under sections 302, 109 and 118 of the IPC. Three other local CPM leaders were also made accused in the case.

In July, the Supreme Court had dismissed Mani's plea to quash further probe into the three-decade-old case.

CPM state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan said the arrest was a government strategy to cover up its lapses. "Why the police were reluctant to arrest Congress MP K Sudhakaran who had owned up political murder and Muslim League legislator P K Basheer, whose name figured in a twin murder case," asked Vijayan.

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