A deadly game

It was Thiruvonam day. Residents of Manjapra near Kalady were busy preparing for the grand feast.
Image used for representational purpose only (Express Illustrations)
Image used for representational purpose only (Express Illustrations)

KOCHI: It was Thiruvonam day. Residents of Manjapra near Kalady were busy preparing for the grand feast. In a few hours, Onam at Manjapra turned into a bleak affair when the news spread about an abandoned body found just that morning in front of a shop at Manjapra market.It looked like an accidental death. However, when the police launched an investigation, it was revealed that things weren’t that simple.
The case would have been written off as an unnatural death had the Kalady police not carried out a scientific inquiry to unravel the mystery.

An officer says digital evidence from the victim’s phone and the bruise marks on his body became crucial in the probe. Sensing foul play behind the death, the then Rural SP K Karthick constituted a special investigation team.

“Upon examining the victim’s phone, it was found that a group of people frequently contacted him on that night. So, we tried to contact them. As the search started, we found that they were missing,” says an officer.

Police also found that the cause of death was an injury he sustained on the back of the head. Soon, the team found the primary accused. The digital and circumstantial evidence were against Saju, 42, and his friends.

“Saju was netted from his hideout after some days. Soon we were able to pick up two others — Sinu, 41, of Sebi Puram and Benny, 52, of Manjalamkuzhi,” said the officer. Two others, who were part of the five-member gang, Sony and Sibi, were also later landed in the police net.

And then the story emerged. The officer revealed that it all started with an innocent card game. The gang had contacted Sumesh for playing cards on the eve of Thiruvonam. He arrived at the spot just a few kilometres away from his house. While the game turned intense, an altercation began. During a brawl, Saju pushed Sumesh. He collapsed and sustained a severe injury to his head.

Sensing the danger, the gang carried him and abandoned him near a shop in the market. Sumesh soon died due to injuries. And the accused had gone into hiding the next day. As the case is now in the trial stage at the court, the investigators said they could not divulge more details at this juncture.

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The New Indian Express
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