The SC commuted the death penalty of Charlie Thomas, the accused in Soumya murder case who saved his life with the help of an evangelical group
T Satisan, Kochi
Charlie Thomas (Govindachamy before his conversion to Christianity), the accused in the infamous ‘Soumya murder and rape case’ got every reason to smile as Supreme Court of India relaxed the capital punishment pronounced by the Thrissur Fast Track Court and later the High Court of Kerala. Now, the Supreme Court of India has awarded him life imprisonment. The shocking incident took place on February 1, 2011. Soumya (23) was travelling from Kochi to Shornnur in a passenger train. According to prosecution when the train passed Vallathol Nagar Railway Station, one-handed Charlie Thomas, a beggar, hailing from Tamil Nadu, tried to rob Soumya while she was alone in a compartment. When she resisted, Charlie smashed her head against the wall and during the unilateral attack, he threw her out of the train. Charlie also jumped out of the running train and walked 200 meters where Soumya was lying in a poll of blood. She was seriously injured. Then he carried her to the bushes and brutally raped her. Soumya died in Thrissur medical college hospital on February 6, 2011.
Thrissur Fast Track Court found Charlie guilty in the rape and murder case and sentenced him to death in 2011. Kerala High Court upheld the death sentence in 2013. In 2014, Supreme Court of India stayed his death sentence. On September 15, 2016 the apex court acquitted him from the murder charge and convicted him only for rape hence life imprisonment. Court held that there was no conclusive evidence that Charlie threw Soumya out of the train. It depended on the oral evidence of two passengers of the adjacent compartment who said that Soumya jumped from the train. The judgment stirred a hornets’ nest in Kerala. BJP and Congress blamed LDF government for not engaging the same counsel who appeared for the prosecution in the lower court as well as the High Court. Soumya’s mother went to the extent of lamenting that State Government sent a counsel who did not know much about the case. CPM, the leader of the ruling LDF coalition spoke out that their leaders are not unanimous in the reaction to the SC verdict. Their PB member MA Baby reiterated his stand that capital punishment should be abolished. But the law minister and another senior leader AK Balan said, the state government would submit review petition immediately and Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi would appear for them.
Now, the crux of the matter being discussed in Kerala is the reverse metamorphosis of Charlie Thomas to Govindachamy! The people found it difficult to make any head or tail of the fact that Charlie Thomas’s case was argued by an expensive lawyer BA Aloor aka Biju Antony. It has been reported that financial assistance for the legal aid was met by a Kochi-based Christian missionary group and prayers would be conducted in all branches of this missionary group thanking the ‘almighty’ for saving Charlie’s life! There were reports of sweet distributions from all branches of this missionary. Everybody knows that Adv Aloor will not take up a case without charging lakhs of rupees. Govindachamy had embraced Christianity in 2007 and he was renamed Charlie Thomas. When he was arrested on February 2, 2011 his name was given to Chelakkara Police Station, Thrissur, as Charlie Thomas.
But, somehow, thereafter his name was changed into Govindachamy, thanks to the interference of the vested interests. It is reported that his conversion was performed in the Coimbatore centre of the aforementioned missionary group. They do have an international network called “Akashapparavakal” (sky birds) with head quarters in Mumbai. This organisation does their level best for the legal aids if any of their men get involved in any problem. Their main activity is conversion into Christianity. They are reported to have more than 20,000 members in Kerala alone. Contributions from the members, foreign fund, etc. are the sources of income for this organisation. Their major conversion targets are beggars and criminals. They will help them and save them from problems whenever they face any. When Charlie Thomas was caught in connection with some cases, this group helped him out. They draw the attention of the prisoners by supplying food in jails. Orphan prisoners are joining this organisation. They are running about eight orphanages in the state. It has been reported that Charlie did not have any sort of tension or anxiety despite the capital punishment. That itself proves that he was aware of the endeavour ‘Akashapparavakal’ had made to save him from the capital punishment.