The state cabinet recommended the release of Chandran alias Manichan, prime accused in the deadly Kalluvathukkal hooch tragedy that rocked the state two decades ago. He had close association with CPIM to whom he periodically contributed money when he was a liquor contractor.
Citing completion of 20 years in prison, the government asked Kerala Governor to relax his life term sentence. The trial court had said that Manichan shall spend the rest of his life in jail. While higher court relaxed sentences of other culprits, Manichan remained in jail.
Manichan is part of a group of prisoners to be pardoned as part of ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’, marking the 75th anniversary of Indian Independence. As the incident had rocked the state, Raj Bhavan is considering the move with caution. It has been three weeks since the file is pending with the Governor’s office.
Earlier, in a bid to save its face, CPM state committee had expelled Thiruvananthapuram district secretary M. Sathyanesan from the primary membership of the party for having periodically accepted money from a liquor contractor has caused even more embarrassment.
Along with Satyanesan’s, the names of at least 20 more CPI(M) leaders – besides politicians from other parties – were found in the diary recovered by the police from Manichan, currently serving a life sentence in connection with the hooch tragedy which killed 32 people last year.
Manichan’s diary had entries regarding the amounts he claimed to have paid regularly to politicians. The ruling CPM is notorious for their connection with liquor contractors who help the party generously.