Kerala human sacrifice: Cannibalism suspected as cops unravel grisly details
All unsolved missing person cases to be revisited; CPM calls for law against superstition
KOCHI: Hints of possible cannibalism have emerged in the sacrifice of two women in Pathanamthitta’s Elanthoor. The police have launched a probe. Kochi City Police Commissioner C H Nagaraju said the investigation team was collecting evidence following indications that the accused consumed the flesh of one of the victims.
“There’s some information that the accused ate parts of the body of the victims. We are yet to get any evidence of cannibalism. The investigation is on. We have to conduct DNA analysis and other scientific examinations,” he told reporters in Kochi on Wednesday.
The trio arrested in the case — Elanthoor native Bhagaval Singh, 68, his wife Laila, 59, and Perumbavoor native Mohammed Shafi alias Rasheed — have been sent to judicial custody. They are accused of sacrificing Padmam, 52, of Dharmapuri, Tamil Nadu, and Rosily Varghese, 50, a native of Thrissur. The police will approach the court seeking 12-day custody of the trio for further inquiry and evidence collection.
The state police have decided to probe all recent man-missing cases which were written off as undetected. Meanwhile, the ruling CPM has urged the government to explore the possibility of a new legislation to prevent crimes related to superstitions and black magic. The police said Shafi was the mastermind. He had convinced the couple, who were in financial trouble, into sacrificing the women for wealth. Sources said Laila told the officers that Shafi had also told them that they needed to eat a small portion of the victims’ flesh to “get the full result of the ritual.”
The police remand report filed at Judicial First Class Magistrate court confirmed that the human sacrifices for prosperity was the reason behind the two murders. The report was silent on cannibalism.
Investigating involvement of more persons: Police
The report said Shafi had lured the women by promising them money in return for sex. Rosily was taken to the couple’s house in June after being offered Rs 10 lakh for acting in an adult movie, said the report.
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It said Padmam, who sold lottery tickets, was picked up from Mullassery in Kochi around 10.15 am on September 26. Police recovered a CCTV footage in which she was seen boarding Shafi’s car. The remand report said Shafi had offered her Rs 15,000. Shafi confessed to conducting a similar human sacrifice in June, that of Rosily.
The remand report said Shafi first inflicted serious wounds on Padamam’s body. Later, the accused trio chopped her up, put the parts in a bucket and dumped them in a pit on the northern side of the house.
Commissioner Nagaraju said, “Shafi is a pervert, a hardcore criminal and a psychopath. We are investigating the involvement of more accused persons and whether or not more such incidents took place earlier,” he said, adding that ‘sadistic injuries’ were found on victims.
“In 2020, Shafi had raped a 75-year-old woman and inflicted grievous injuries on her body too. This indicates sexual perversion and psychopathic behaviour,” he said.
Nagaraju also said the police were probing the financial transactions that took place between the couple and Shafi. “Shafi laid the net and the couple partook in the plan. A fourth party’s involvement is yet to be identified and requires further investigation. We are attempting to trace their social media footprint to know more about Shafi and Singh,” Nagaraju said.
The police said Shafi also received about Rs 3 lakh from the couple for performing the human sacrifice. “Both the murders took place around 5 pm and the accused buried the bodies late at night,” said the police.