The road at Kairali Nagar Residents’ Association in Puthoorkkonam was crowded from noon on Monday.
People were waiting outside ‘Omkar’, the house where Harihara Varma, 59, a member of Mavelikkara kovilakam, was found dead, and its surroundings.
They comprised not only the local people of Puthoorkkonam, but also residents of nearby areas. It was around 2 pm that the news of the murder spread. The preliminary assumption was that Varma was killed owing to an overdose of chloroform.
It was suspected that he came to the house to sell a diamond and other precious stones, for which advocate Haridas, who informed the police about the incident, is said to have been the middleman. It is alleged that the ‘buyers’ made him smell chloroform, the overdose of which finally caused his death. Haridas informed the Vattiyoorkavu police about the incident in person.
From then onwards, ‘Omkar’ became the spot of attention. Soon, forensic and fingerprint experts also reached the spot. ‘Omkar’ is owned by the daughter of advocate Haridas, and the former is living abroad. “The house is rarely seen occupied. The neighbours know very little about the house and its owner,” said Nissam, a local man.
The statement given by Haridas to the police said that the buyers who allegedly killed Varma had also robbed their mobile phones. “His statement says that he informed his son about the incident by using the phone of the nearby house. It also says that he was also tied up with a plastic rope after applying chloroform. According to Haridas, he managed to untie with great difficulty and informed the police,” a police official said.
“But there are contradictions in the statement. He changed it many times,” the official added.
A bundle of Rs 1,000 notes was found on the bed where the body was found.
Sources said that the suspects, Premraj, Yogesh and another person who can be identified, had arrived the city in the morning by flight from Chennai and they came to the house with Varma and Haridas in a white Honda City car.
Varma is survived by wife Vimaladevi, a Deputy Commissioner of Sales Tax.
Police have launched a manhunt for the assailants, who fled immediately after the incident.