In a major breakthrough, the Special Investigation Team probing the murder of Senior Civil Police Officer Maniyan Pillai has gained vital evidence to confirm that the assassin is notorious burglar Varghese Antony alias Aadu Antony of Neduvila Vadakkethil, Kumbalam, Kundara.
Police said that the Tamil Nadu-registered white Maruti Omni van abandoned by the assailant at Varkala helped in identifying the assailant. The van’s ownership had over the years changed nine times and this resulted in delay in identifying its owner. The sketch prepared on the basis of inputs from the two policemen of Ayroor police station who followed the assassin and the fingerprints from the Maruti Omni van at Varkala helped in confirming the assassin’s identity. Police said that injured ASI K Joy has identified Aadu Antony. A house-break at Oyoor, where the burglar sprayed sedatives on the inmates of the house and decamped with valuables, too had been traced to Antony. The fingerprints from the house had matched with those collected from the van. Aadu Antony was zeroed in from a long-list of burglars active in the area.
Those with resemblance to the sketch were questioned by the police. With the identification of the assassin, the Special Investigation Team, led by Southern Range IG Sheik Darvesh Saheb, has intensified the search for the assailant in the state and outside.
The suspected Tamil Nadu connection of the assassin too helped the police to conclude that the murder was the handiwork of Antony, who is based in Tamil Nadu for the past few years. The vehicle used by him was registered in Tamil Nadu and the police found a copy of a Chennai edition of a Malayalam daily in the van.
Antony is notorious for conducting burglaries in the Maruti van. Police had taken into custody a van, when he was last caught by the police a few years ago. The series of burglaries reported from Oyoor area in the recent past are being traced to Antony’s gang. Antony got the nickname Aadu Antony after he escaped from his village in Kundara by stealing a goat. He has attained notoriety for stealing electronic goods. Police said that Antony had robbed hundreds of computers from houses and schools. In 2009, police had raided a house rented by Antony in Pathanamthitta and seized stolen electronic goods worth over `10 lakh, while he remained at large. He had also operated from a rented house in Kozhikode, where the police had seized stolen goods from a lorry.