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Kerala court acquits 3 RSS workers in madrassa teacher murder case

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Kasaragod, Mar 30 (PTI) A court here on Saturday acquitted three RSS activists in a case relating to the murder of a madrassa teacher inside a mosque in the district in 2017.

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Kasaragod Principal Sessions Court Judge K K Balakrishnan acquitted Akhilesh, Nidhin, and Ajesh, all three residents of Kelugude, in the case. The accused spent seven years in jail without bail.

Mohammed Riyas Maulavi, a 34-year-old muezzin (a person who proclaims the Islamic call to prayer) and madrassa teacher from nearby Choori, was found murdered in his room in the mosque on March 20, 2017.

His throat was allegedly slit by a gang which had entered the compound of Muhayuddin Juma masjid of Choori.

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The court in its order said the prosecution was not able to prove that the accused had any kind of enmity with the Muslim community.

"Moreover, the prosecution side failed to establish any kind of connection of the accused with RSS," the court said.

The court noted that the phones seized from the accused and prosecution witnesses were analysed but nothing useful was found.

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"The failure of the investigating officers to investigate with respect to the contents and data of above said phone materials casts serious doubt on the manner in which the investigation was started, conducted and concluded," the court said.

It said the prosecution spoiled "one of the best opportunities" to know "with whom the deceased had interacted." "The silence in this matter itself is sufficient to uproot the prosecution allegations. Therefore, it can be safely concluded that the investigation is not up to the standard and one sided. So, the accused are entitled benefit of doubt," the court said.

It said the offences committed by them were not proved beyond reasonable doubt.

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"Therefore the prosecution failed to prove that the victim was murdered by the accused beyond" it said.

Hence the offence u/s 449, 302, 153A, 295, 201 r/w 34 of IPC charged against the accused have not been sufficiently proven beyond reasonable doubt and therefore they are not guilty for these offences, the court said in its order.

Meanwhile, the prosecution expressed disappointment over the verdict and said they would appeal against the order.

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"There was strong evidence in the case. Maulavi's blood was found on the clothes of one of the accused. A piece of fabric belonging to Maulavi was found on the knife used by the accused. We had submitted all the evidence," the prosecutor in the case told PTI.

The court examined 97 witnesses, 215 documents and 45 material evidence in the case in which the charge sheet was filed within 90 days.

The Maulavi’s wife, who was present in the court, broke down before the media and said the order was “disappointing.” The victim's family members said they never expected this judgment in the matter.

"In this case, the courts did not even grant bail to the accused for the past seven years. The accused were not connected with Maulavi in any manner. Even the police charge sheet clearly mentions that the crime was an attempt to create communal unrest in the region," one of the relatives told reporters.

The charge sheet and the remand report said that the accused were trying to foment communal unrest in the region. PTI RRT VN VN

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