Three days ago, K Velayudhan Master, the father of V Saseendran, whose death along with his two sons had created a controversy in 2011, passed away in Kerala’s Palakkad district. He was 93 years old. The aged man had fought for justice for his son, a former company secretary with Malabar Cements Limited Company, and his two grandsons, till age-related illnesses took his life.
Velayudhan Master, a retired high school teacher, and his family were shocked over the ‘mysterious deaths’ of his son and grandsons at their house in Kuridikadu in Palakkad, where they were found hanging on January 24, 2011. The family alleged that Saseendran (46) and his sons Vivek (10) and Vyas (8) were murdered in retaliation for Saseendran’s objection to illegal transactions of raw materials at Malabar Cements, leading to a loss of over Rs 400 crore.
The nonagenarian teacher’s fight for justice was often equated with the relentless fight for justice by late Prof TV Eachara Warrier, father of engineering college student P Rajan, who was allegedly taken into custody by the police during the Emergency of 1975-77 and had since disappeared. Prof Warrier passed away without knowing what happened to his son, though he waged a dogged legal fight for the truth.
A few months before his death, Velayudhan Master and Saseendran’s younger brother Sanalkumar had sent a memorandum to the Chief Justice of India (CJI) regarding denial of justice in the alleged murder of Saseendran and his two children, alleging lapses in filing chargesheet against VM Radhakrishnan, the controversial contractor with Malabar Cements, a public limited company.
“My father was very disappointed over the way the case has been sabotaged and justice was still a distant reality,” says Sanalkumar, who is also a petitioner in the case.
“He was present for the protests demanding justice for Saseendran and his two sons at meetings in Palakkad, Kanjikode and Thiruvananthapuram,” the son recounts.
Sanalkumar, who is an award-winning higher secondary school teacher, recalls the mental agony the family went through following the death of his brother and nephews.
“Saseendran, who was highly qualified as company secretary, chose the Malabar Cements assignment after ignoring foreign job offers so as to stay in Palakkad. However, only after joining the company did he come to know about the lobbying in the government sector institution. When he told us about the corruption at Malabar Cements, we gave him moral support to be honest and upright. He visited us often in the days before his death and was never tense despite the issues within the company,” Sanalkumar adds.
In their letter to the CJI dated July 21, Velayudhan Master and Sanalkumar allege that “due to higher level unethical links between political leaders, bureaucrats and business mafia’s involvements in the looting of public money, natural justice is lagging and denying purposefully related to the corruption cases connected with the Malabar Cements and the murder of V Saseendran (sic).”
The petition, exclusively accessed by TNM, also alleges that the Kerala government is “helping to facilitate the escape of the chargesheeted accused persons, issuing special orders by violating existing court rules,” the petition says.
The petition further alleges that the CBI hurriedly submitted the enquiry report in the Chief Judicial Magistrate Court, Ernakulam, without properly investigating the murder of Saseendran and his two sons. It stresses that the murders took place because of Saseendran’s anti-corruption stand. “He was forced out of the company and was considered as a threat to the illegal practices of the company officials and a political power broker contractor, VM Radhakrishnan,” the petition reads.
The petition alleges that the report prepared by CBI ASP Nandakumar Nair was rejected by the CJM Court, Ernakulam. It alleges that Salim Sahib, CBI Sub Inspector, also submitted the final report in the CJM Court in the same way without considering the murder aspects and the High Court has now stopped the further trials of the case,” the petition reads.
It also demands evaluation of the proceedings in the case and constituting a Special Investigation Team (SIT) under a capable Indian Police Service Officer for early justice for Saseendran’s family and society. Sanalkumar had filed a writ with the Kerala High Court in 2016 demanding a reinvestigation in the case and dismissal of the CBI investigation report. The CBI in their investigation had charged VM Radhakrishnan for abetment to suicide in connection with the death of Saseendran and his two sons.
The petition alleges that a CBI officer had visited their house on February 28, 2014 and spoken to them with the preconceived notion that the deaths of Saseendran and his sons were by suicide. Saseendran’s post mortem report had recorded bruises on his body.
VM Radhakrishnan had sabotaged the case by using his political and financial influence, the family alleged.
A series of mysterious deaths followed Saseendran’s death. Another witness in the case, Satheendra Kumar, also died under mysterious circumstances after being mowed down by a private bus at Ukkadam bus stand in Coimbatore. The driver of the bus was later found dead when the police intensified their investigation into Satheendra Kumar’s death.
Saseendran’s wife Teena also died under mysterious circumstances in 2018.
Crucially, Joy Kaitharath, the petitioner in the Malabar Cements corruption cases, alleged in another petition to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan earlier this year that there were moves to sabotage the trial in the various corruption cases connected with the company.
Abhish K Bose is a journalist based in Kerala.