KASARGOD: The Kasargod Additional District Sessions Court has found seven persons guilty in the murder of NRI businessman and resident of Trikaripur, A B Abdul Salam Haji, 59, during a robbery in 2013. They will be sentenced on Thursday. They may face up to life imprisonment. The judge, E B Rajan, found C K Muhammed Naushad and Muhammed Rameez of Nileshwaram, brothers O M Ashkar, and O M Shihab of Thrissur, C Nimith of Kannur and K P Ameer and M K Jaseer of Malappuram guilty of killing Salam Haji.
The eighth accused, A Mohsin of Nileshwaram, whose car was used for the crime, was let off for lack of evidence. Accused number one and three, Naushad and Rameez, are distantly related to Salam Haji and had zeroed in on his house to make a quick buck.The prosecution was represented by senior lawyers P Rajan and M J Johnson.According to the prosecution, the gang, led by Naushad and Rameez, turned up at Salam Haji's house around 10.30 pm on August 4, 2013.
On hearing the calling bell, Salam Haji opened the door and five members of the gang barged into the house and overpowered Salam. Naushad and Rameez stayed outside. The gang thrashed the house owner till he died, said Special Prosecutor Rajan. "Then they gagged Salam Haji and tied his hands and legs to make it look he is alive so that his wife and two children would not make noise and attract attention," he said.The gang was in the house for nearly 90 minutes, and during that time they constantly received direction from Naushad and Rameez, Rajan said. They also damaged the electronic surveillance and security system.But during the operation, Naushad made a call to the gang from a neighbour's landline phone, which helped the police put him under the suspects' list, the special prosecutor said.On further analysis of their mobile phone records, the police picked up Mohsin, and later the entire gang.During the trial, 114 witnesses, including forensic experts of Pariyaram Medical College and nodal officers of Idea and Airtel telecom companies, were examined, said Rajan.