KOCHI: The past two days, former President APJ Abdul Kalam’s bust at Marine Drive is devoid of flowers.
For the man who regularly cleaned the bust and paid floral tributes to the late president is no more.
G Sivadasan, 63, was murdered by a person who became jealous of the former after a video of his floral tribute went viral on social media, the police said.
The accused, identified as Rajesh alias Sudheer (40), of Paravoor, has been arrested. The police found Sivadasan’s body at Marine Drive, where he had been spending the night over the past three years, on December 16.
While there appeared little suspicion of murder, the postmortem revealed his death was caused by internal injuries resulting from physical assault.
The Central police station registered a case and a special team under Assistant Commissioner K Lalji and Station house Officer S Vijayasankar was formed to probe the incident.
“We stumbled upon an evidence connecting Sivadasan and Rajesh. We picked him up for questioning and he spilled the beans,” Vijayasankar said.
According to the police, Rajesh and Sivadasan were friends and they used to spend time together at Marine Drive.
After the floral tribute video went viral and appeared in news media, many people came forward to support Sivadasan. A few also offered him money. Rajesh allegedly developed animosity towards Sivadasan.
Accused murdered Sivadasan in fit of rage
On the night of December 15, Rajesh picked a quarrel with him. In a fit of rage, Rajesh allegedly kicked Sivadasan on his chest repeatedly.
Sivadasan fell unconscious as his ribs broke and caused internal bleeding. Rajesh immediately fled the scene leaving Sivadasan on the spot. in the viral video, Sivadasan says that he first met APJ Abdul Kalam in Kollam and later in Thiruvananthapuram.
“At Thiruvananthapuram, I was standing in the crowd and he came to me and gave me Rs 500 saying ‘keep this for travel expenses’. I can’t forget that moment and i am indebted to him,” he had said.
Though Sivadasan was a carpenter by profession and had a family in Kollam, he used to spend his nights at Marine drive in recent years.
Kalam’s bust was installed by the Greater Cochin Development Authority (GCDA) in 2016 as a tribute to the scientist- president. And the Marine drive walkway was named APJ Abdul Kalam Marg.