Kevin murder case: Preliminary hearing on charges commences

According to Ajayan, the postmortem report stated the death was due to drowning.

Published: 14th February 2019 02:02 AM  |   Last Updated: 14th February 2019 02:02 AM   |  A+A-

Kevin’s father Joseph Jacob presents a poignant picture as he waits outside the Addl Sessions Court IV in Kottayam, where preliminary hearing in the case started on Wednesday. The men with their backs turned are accused in the case | Vishnu Prathap

By Express News Service

KOTTAYAM: More than seven months after the abduction and mysterious death of Kevin P Joseph, hearing with regard to the framing of charges has commenced at the Additional Sessions Court -IV, Kottayam on Wednesday. After hearing the arguments of the prosecution on the first day, judge K G Sanal Kumar posted the case for February 22, to conduct the hearing on the part of the accused.

The prosecution argued there was enough evidence, including documents, statement of the witnesses, CCTV footage and telephone call records, to substantiate the accused prima facie committed the crime. “Even grave suspicion is sufficient to frame the charges. Here, we have enough circumstantial evidence to prove the case was an organised murder,” said C S Ajayan, public prosecutor.

According to Ajayan, the postmortem report stated the death was due to drowning. “The possibility of an accidental drowning can be ruled out as there is little chance for the victim, who knows swimming to drown in waist-deep water in the stream. Hence, there is enough presumptive evidence for homicidal drowning, which is the opinion of the medical team constituted by the government as well. So, Section 106 of the Evidence Act is applicable in the case, which means the burden is upon the accused to prove the fact,” Ajayan said.

It is learnt the hearing will be completed within two to three postings. The court is likely to consider a petition filed by the first accused Syanu Chacko to release his car, which is under judicial custody, in the next posting.

According to the prosecution, a gang led by Syanu, brother of Kevin’s fiancee Neenu Chacko, abducted Kevin from his rental residence at Gandhi Nagar to Thenmala on May 28 night and chased him to the stream in Chaliyakkara near Thenmala with an objective to kill him. There are 14 accused in the case. The prosecution also produced 170 documents, 176 witnesses, and three vehicles in the case. It also charged as many as 10 charges, including Sections 302 (murder), 120 B (criminal conspiracy), 364 A (kidnapping for ransom) and so on of the IPC.

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