KOLLAM: When most people were searching for their favourite food recipes to satisfy their cravings on social media and brushing up on their skills during the lockdown, a 27-year-old man in Adoor was busy watching snake-related videos and rekindling Sherlock Holmes episodes.
The Cyber Cell has found out that Sooraj's YouTube searches included videos on handling snakes, different species of venomous snakes and how long a snake bite victim can survive, if left untreated. The entire plot mirrors that of 'The Adventure of the Speckled Band' by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
How did a natural snakebite death turned out to be a brutal murder?
The unusual behaviour of Sooraj and his family members during Uthra's funeral had evoked the suspicion of her parents Vijayasenan and Manimekhala.
"Though Uthra's mother had voiced some doubts about her son-in-law's involvement in the first snakebite, we didn't take her seriously. But when it happened again we recalled many scenarios which validated our doubts and that is when we lodged a complaint against him with the Anchal police station," said Vijayasenan.
"If my daughter had died during the first attempt, Sooraj would have succeeded in his plan and we would have never known of his hideous plot," he added.
Following suspicions raised by her family, as it was the second time that she suffered a snake attack in three months, the case which was probed by Anchal police was handed over to the Crime Branch.
Crime Branch takes over probe
Within three days of taking over the probe, the Crime Branch with the help of Anchal police, managed to crack the case. The accused was arrested after gathering digital evidence against him. The investigation team arrested Sooraj and Suresh, a snake-catcher who supplied the cobra and a viper, in the case.
Snake exhumed for post-mortem
As the conviction in the case will rest on scientific and circumstantial evidence, police backed by forensic and other experts are gathering all possible evidence against Sooraj to establish his guilt.
Based on Sooraj's confession during interrogation, the team has visited various crime spots, including the deceased's house, Sooraj's house and a bank locker in Adoor where the couple had kept their gold.
The team had found a plastic jar from Uthra's house which has been sent for forensic tests. The investigating team has also dug up the snake, whose bite proved fatal, for post-mortem.