The Alappuzha fast-track court on Saturday awarded a death sentence to the former local secretary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), R. Byju, for the murder of Congress ward president K.S. Divakaran in 2009.
During the hearing, Additional District Court III judge K. Anil Kumar found Byju guilty of killing Divakaran over an altercation regarding the hefty price of coir mats.
The court also awarded life imprisonment to five other accused - V. Sujith, M. Benny, N. Sethu Kumar, S. Sathish Kumar and P. Praveen.
Earlier on April 18, the Alappuzha court found Byju and Sethu Kumar guilty of murdering Divakaran.
In 2009, Byju had gone to Divakaran's house to sell coir mats. The latter, who used to work in a coir factory, refused to buy the mat since it was expensive. This led to an argument between the two sides, after which Byju angrily left a coir mat at Divakaran's house.
Divakaran's son had raised the issue in the ward sabha, saying that his father was 'assaulted' by Byju. In the evening, Byju again went to Divakaran's house and attacked him and his family with a wooden rod.
The Congress ward president was rushed to the hospital for medical treatment, but he succumbed to his injuries later on.
Initially, during the investigation, Byju's name was not included by the police. The Congress Party staged an agitation demanding Byju's name to be included in the probe. Ultimately, the police included him as an accused in the murder case.
After the incident, the CPI (M) expelled Byju from the party.