KOCHI: A 30-year-old suspect, who was remanded in judicial custody in a case related to the repeated sexual abuse of a minor girl at Kuttampuzha and being treated for Covid-19 in the First-Line Treatment Centre at Nedumbassery, hoodwinked the police and escaped after stealing the mobile phone of a nurse on Tuesday. Muthuramakrishnan of Mamalakandam near Kuttampuzha was arrested on charges of sexually abusing the minor girl, who was her neighbour. According to the police, the suspect had abused the girl multiple times in 2019. Following a complaint lodged by the victim’s relatives, he was arrested by the Kuttampuzha police under relevant sections of Pocso Act on September 9.
He was later sent to the FLTC at Nedumbassery for conducting the Covid test after remanding him in judicial custody. He tested positive later. Following this, he was undergoing treatment while serving the judicial custody at the centre.The authorities noticed that Muthuramakrishnan had been missing since 4pm on Tuesday. After conducting searches on the FLTC premises, the health authorities reported the matter to the Nedumbassery police. Later, it was found that a mobile phone of a nurse deputed to the centre was missing.
Though the centre is under the control of health authorities, it is under the surveillance of police, leading to criticism from various corners that the suspect’s escape was a serious security lapse. Though police officials are deployed at the convention centre where four other accused are also lodged, their accommodation is arranged about 250 metres away to keep social distancing. P M Byju, Inspector of Nedumbassery police station, said the hunt has been intensified to trace the suspect.
According to the police, several suspects have been admitted to FLTCs after testing positive for Covid-19 and undergoing treatment. “It’s the first time an accused, who had tested positive, escaped from a treatment centre after committing a theft. The Nedumbassery police’s investigation is under way,” said an officer. Though Muthuramakrishnan is a habitual offender, he had no previous police records against him. “Local residents had complained about his involvement in anti-social activities earlier too, but he was arrested for the first time in a major criminal case,” said an officer.
Muthuramakrishnan, a daily wage labourer, is married and have children, said the police. The suspect, who has long hair, was clad in a saffron dhoti and red shirt while escaping from the FLTC.The accused is residing in a tribal hamlet at Mamalakandam near Adimali. He hailed an autorickshaw and went to Kothamangalam. From there, he is believed to have gone to Adimali. Though the police searched the area in the night itself, he could not be traced.