Plavila, painting, and the ‘Agatha Christie’ twist
Officers at the Chengalam South police station in Kottayam cracked a recent case in which the only clue they had were the two words the hostipatlised victim mumbled lying in a delirious state.
Published: 13th October 2022 06:55 AM | Last Updated: 13th October 2022 06:55 AM | A+A A-
KOCHI: Those who are fans of Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple or Hercule Poirot know how a single word or action works its way into cracking a case which otherwise would never have been solved due to lack of evidence or witnesses.
Officers at the Chengalam South police station in Kottayam cracked a recent case in which the only clue they had were the two words the hostipatlised victim mumbled lying in a delirious state. “The victim kept repeating the words ‘Plavila’ and ‘Painting’,” says an officer.
The incident happened last month. “A woman, in her late 60s, was found unconscious in the kitchen of her house, where she lived alone,” the officer says. “She was a spinster. Her sisters used to check on her over phone. On that day, when one sister rang her up, the call went unanswered.”
The sister, along with some relatives, rushed to the woman’s house. “They found her lying unconscious on the kitchen floor, with a deep gash behind her head. She was immediately taken to the hospital,” says the officer.
The relatives alerted the police. “She was in a semi-unconscious state and kept repeating ‘plavila... painting’,”says the officer, adding that nobody could find a link between the words. The police began an investigation based on the words. Upon inquiring in and around the woman’s neighbourhood, they found that some weeks ago, the victim had hired a team to paint her house.
“We rounded up all the painters in the area, but couldn’t zero in on the culprit,” says the officer. “Then we decided to look into the other word — plavila. We found that a jackfruit tree had been axed down at a house nearby.” The house owner remembered a person talking about “taking a bundle of jackfruit leaves” to the victim’s house. “The victim had a couple of goats,” says the officer.
Visuals from a CCTV unit showed a person going towards the victim’s house with a bundle of jackfruit leaves “The man lived nearby and had come over to the spinster’s house along with the painting team,” says the officer.
“He befriended the victim. After completing the painting work, the accused, who is a drug addict and an alcoholic, waited for an opportunity to break in. On the day of the incident, he brought the jackfruit leaves to the victim’s house and attacked her. She fell and hit her head on a big vessel in the kitchen.”
The accused then fled with the victim’s gold chain, bangles and earrings. “Thanks to the clues and also the CCTV footage, the man was arrested. He has been remanded in custody and is awaiting trial,” says the officer.