Midnight mishap that turned out to be murder

The victim was returning drunk from a local bar. The car that mowed the victim was seized, along with three of the passengers, within hours.
Image used for representational purpose only.
Image used for representational purpose only.

KOCHI: When a midnight road accident death was reported at Enchakkal in Thiruvananthapuram on March 30 this year, the initial police response was on the expected lines. They had a casual approach, which is expected in the case of normal motor accident death. They had no reasons to rack their brains as the incident did not evoke any suspicion. It in fact had ticked all the boxes of a typical road accident. It was a clean hit-and-run case.

The victim was returning drunk from a local bar. The car that mowed the victim was seized, along with three of the passengers, within hours. It turned out that the passengers had no criminal antecedents. Just as they were to initiate police formalities connected with road accident death, the name of the victim knocked them off their comfort zone. The victim was identified as Sumesh aka ‘Kunkan’ Sumesh.


A ruthless criminal having his name etched in the police records of habitual offenders, the 30-year-old gained notoriety after murdering a leading gangster Karali Anoop in 2014. A few officers, who had the experience dealing with criminal gangs, had a hunch that this could be more than a road accident.

Thus began the probe by the Vanchiyoor police, which finally culminated in the arrest of Nihas, 27, and Reji, 28, of Pangode and Shameem, 24, of Maranalloor. The finding was that the trio mowed down Sumesh after they were beaten up by the latter during an altercation at a bar near Enchakkal.

“The one who is dead is Sumesh. And the incident occurred at Enchakkal, a hub of all criminal activities. That made us think that a detailed probe was required,” said Shankhumukham Assistant Commissioner D K Prithviraj.

The trio had come to the city to visit Reji’s wife, who was pregnant and hospitalised. After visiting the woman, they went to the bar and there they had fracas with Sumesh and his friend. The police from the CCTV visuals found out the clash at the bar.

From the CCTV visuals and phone records, it was found that the trio had waited for about 30 minutes outside the bar awaiting Sumesh to come out. When he was returning home, they tailed him in a car and then rammed his bike.

Vipin, the prime accused in Karali Anoop murder, was bumped off in 2019 by a gang. Prithviraj said the first thing they did was to check whether it was a quotation bid. “It became clear that it was not a case of contract killing. The accused had no criminal antecedents,” he said.

Prithviraj said it was the alacrity and smart thinking of the cops that helped them crack a case that first appeared as an accident death. “From an accident death, the case suddenly developed into a crime. That was possible because of some smart thinking from the side of the police,” he added.

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