The Kallooppara Bhagavathi Temple squad and the local police have arrested the robbers who looted the temple and killed a temple inmate on July 4. The robbers were arrested from Marthandam in Tamil Nadu.
Sekhar, 35, of Kulasekharam, Kanyakumari, S Ayyappan (Renjith) alias Kotta Ayyappan, 40, of Kanyakumari, Manikkuttan alias Nijin, 22, of Thettiyararodarikathu house, Neyyatinkara, and Varghese John alias Jijo, 28, of Thekkemuriyil, Nedumpara, Kallooppara, are the arrested.
The robbers stole the thazhikakkudam of the Kallooppara Bhagavathi Temple, which contained 15 sovereigns of pure gold worth Rs 5 lakh.
Gopalakrishnan alias Kaimal, 65, a temple inmate, was killed by the robbers during the theft. His body was found tied to a pillar under the Pampa irrigation canal 300 metres away from the temple. Temple watcher G Chandrasekharan, 60, of Parayil, Kallooppara, was tied to another pillar.
Pathanamthitta SP K K Balachandran said the robbers were planning the robbery for six months while the thazhikakudam was being reinstalled at the temple in January. “Jijo helped them collect pictures, newspaper cuttings and video clippings of the thazhikakudam. He gave Shekhar and Manikuttan details of the temple from Renjith’s house via phone. Shekhar and Manikuttan were also involved in another case at the Kulashekhara police station. The four accused then shifted their base to Karukachal and executed the theft,” he said.
Balachandran said that the robbers had mistaken that the cupola was completely made of gold. “They brought plaster, gloves and scissors when they came to Eraviperoor. They switched off their mobile phones after talking to each other. At 1 am, they were at the temple, but a police patrol made them hide near the river. They returned around 3 am and overpowered the security man. They tied him up at the canal. When Kaimal was being taken, he put up a strong opposition. He was beaten up and tied to the pillar. Two of the thieves grabbed the thazhikakudam and escaped using a stolen scooter. The thazhikakudam was kept at Thengana, Kottayam. A day later, they sold it at a jewellery store in Marthandam at Rs 15,000,” the police chief said.
The thieves were caught with the help of the cyber police and scientific experts. Police authorities said that the remaining two thieves will be arrested soon.