Man accused of acid attack on CPI leader found dead in Madurai

At that time Khan was in his bedroom and his wife after letting Kumar in went out to sweep the courtyard.
Image used for representational purpose only. (Express illustration)
Image used for representational purpose only. (Express illustration)

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A CPI local leader accused of splashing a corrosive chemical at Maranalloor panchayat standing committee chairman Sudheer Khan was found dead in a hotel room in Madurai on Tuesday. Saji Kumar, 62, who is the former CPI local secretary, has been identified as the deceased. The sources said it could be a case of suicide as a suicide note purportedly penned by him was recovered from the hotel room.

Saji had fled the state after allegedly throwing a corrosive chemical at the 43-year-old CPI leader at his residence in Kilikottukonam on Sunday morning.

Khan is a member of the Kilikottukonam panchayat ward and CPI Pongumoodu local committee secretary. An officer attached to Maranalloor police said the two were earlier thick friends and it was since a month that issues cropped up between them. “ “The issues emerged between them a month ago. Before that, they were very good friends and attended party programmes together. What resulted in the fallout between them is yet to be known. We are expected to get to know about it during the probe, “ said the officer.

The police officer said the suicide note written in Saji’s diary and his mobile phone were in the custody of Tamil Nadu police and the probe will cover the contents of the suicide note as well once the state police get hold of them. Sources said Saji’s suicide note mentioned the names of some CPI leaders. They were accused of cheating Saji on financial matters. Khan is also functioning as the president of a dairy cooperative society near Velloorkonam. Saji was the previous secretary of the society. Sources said financial matters in the society could have played a role in creating a rift between the two. 

Saji had arrived at Khan’s house on Sunday by 7.30 am. Khan’s wife let him in after Kumar said he wanted to meet her husband. Since both belonged to the same party and Kumar had been to the house on many other occasions to meet Khan, she did not suspect any foul play and let him in.

At that time Khan was in his bedroom and his wife after letting Kumar in went out to sweep the courtyard. Later, she heard cries from the room and as she rushed in, Kumar silently left the house without saying anything. When she reached the bedroom, Khan was standing underneath the shower. Since he was not able to tell what had happened, the family suspected that he might have sustained burns after his cell phone exploded.

SULPHURIC ACID USED

Doctors informed the cops that the burns were induced by a chemical substance that was splashed at Khan. The police recovered a bottle reportedly used by Kumar to carry the corrosive chemical. The police inference is that Saji could have sprinkled sulphuric acid on Khan. Khan had sustained severe burns and suffered 80% vision loss in one of his eyes.

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