CPM bid to cash in on nun murder case

via VR Jayaraj | Kochi - Daily Pioneer published on July 25, 2009

The CPI(M), choking under a tsunami of unpopularity in Kerala following the CBI-probed SNC Lavalin corruption case in which its secretary Pinarayi Vijayan is seventh accused, is on a bid to cash in on the sensational Sr Abhaya murder case by going all out against the Central agency, which is probing the murder also.

The move of the CPI(M) is said to be two-pronged as attacks against the CBI over the nun murder case are aimed at establishing that it is an agency with no credibility or ethical perspective, a move for defending itself in the SNC Lavalin case, and at the same time wooing the powerful Catholic Church which is at loggerheads with the party over several matters.

The CPI(M) had never expressed any serious opinion on the Sr Abhaya case so far, as it had been seeing it as yet another criminal case, but two feeder outfits of the party – the CITU and the All India Democratic Women’s Association – came out against the CBI for its conduct in the probe within a span of a couple of days. The move by these outfits is seen as a test of the situation from the part of the CPI(M) before deciding whether it should directly intervene to woo the Church.

Observers are of the opinion that the CPI(M) is on such a bid out of sheer necessity at a time when it is facing the biggest wave of unpopularity since the time of the first communist government headed by (late) EMS Namboothitipad. In such a situation, the party, by making its feeder outfits to raise criticisms against the CBI, is trying to woo the Church, as almost all other communities have distanced themselves from the Marxists.

With huge sections of people turning against it for over the alleged involvement of Pinarayi Vijayan in the graft case, the poll alliance with Abudl Nasser Madani’s PDP, the lopsided agreement with the self-financing professional college managements, the administrative failures of the VS Achuthanandan regime, the CPI(M) is feeling that it is necessary for the party to win back the support of the Church.

The other aspect of the CPI(M) feeder outfits’ comments on the Sr Abhaya case is that the party this as an opportunity to show to the people how incredible and biased the CBI could be, in the particular context of the SNC Lavalin case. It is worth noting that the feeder outfits are questioning the moral integrity and credibility of the agency and not its ability to probe cases.

The first criticism against the CBI in the Sr Abhaya case had come from Politburo member Brinda Karat, wife of CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat, who had allegedly gone out of the way to defend Pinarayi Vijayan over the CBI case on the Rs 374.5-crore SNC Lavalin case. Brinda, as leader of the All India Democratic Women’s Association, wrote to the Prime Minister to complain against the CBI for the obscene language it had used in the chargesheet to explain the results of the virginity test held on nun Sr Seffi, third accused in the Sr Abhaya case.

Observers point out that this intervention could be nothing but sheer politics as this is not the first time that a probe agency has been conducting virginity tests on victims or accused, and the move by Brinda itself was quite unexpected as the general thinking in the Kerala CPI(M) has been that the agency is on the right track in the Sr Abhaya case.

They say that the party has a feeling that this is a good opportunity to declare solidarity with the Church which is in a spot over the charges made against three of its senior personalities in the case. Sr Seffi herself is preparing to approach the Supreme Court against the virginity test and the CBI’s “obscene” references to sexuality in the chargesheet.

The CITU’s complaint against the CBI is also equally important as it has raised the same points against the CBI as those by the Catholic Church. The trade union has questioned the authority of the probe agency to suspect the expertise of the officials at the Centre for Development of Imaging Technology (C-DIT), Thiruvananthapuram, who had found that the CDs of the narco-analyses of the accused priests and nun in the case were extensively manipulated.

There is no reason why the Catholic Church should reject the CPI(M) feeder outfits’ pro-
Church stand in the case and the party wants to use this as an opportunity to reopen dialogues with the clergy in its bid to win back the believers’ support, observers point out.

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