KOCHI: Investigation of the Sulekha murder case, which was once considered as a feather in the cap of the CBI, slipped from its hands after witnesses gave contradicting statements, which helped the accused earn the benefit of doubt from the CBI Court. Involvement of the accused in the murder was established from the brain-mapping test and polygraph conducted at the Forensic Laboratory. However, the court did not consider them as enough proof to convict the accused.
The CBI investigation had found that Sulekha was murdered by Abdul Kareem, Kunjithee and Valsala Kumari.
However, the statements given by a small-time merchant and a bus driver went against the CBI’s argument. Another witness, Valsala’s neighbour Nitha, in her statement claimed that she had seen Abdul Kareem at Samaritan Hospital, Pazhanganad, with a fractured hand on July 29, the day on which Sulekha was murdered. A surgery was performed on his hand on July 17, and he was hospitalised until July 22.
“Under such circumstances, it is doubtful whether he would be able to do the acts, including the murder, as narrated by the prosecution,” pointed out the court. During the probe, the CBI primarily relied on an extra-judicial confession made by Valsala to Nitha and her mother Rajashree. According to Nitha, Valasla visited her and confessed the crime two-three years after Sulekha’s death, and later they shared the matter with Rajashree as well. However, the witnesses disclosed the matter only when the CBI took over the probe in 2013, around five years after Valsala confessed the crime. “The long delay in disclosing details of the extra-judicial confession throws suspicion over its genuineness,” observed the court.
The court observed that no ‘mahazar’ was prepared with regard to the ‘shed’ where the victim allegedly saw the accused in a compromising position. Meanwhile, the other witnesses, Ibrahim, Khadeeja and Hydrose, gave contradicting statements about the size of the shed. Another factor that helped the accused was the fact that though their involvement in the crime was established in the scientific tests, the CBI failed to recover any material from the crime scene.