Muthoot murder: CBI recovers weapons; setback to police

via VR Jayaraj | Kochi - Daily Pioneer published on March 4, 2010

The Kerala Police’s credibility suffered a severe setback on Wednesday with the CBI, probing the murder of young businessman Paul George Muthoot, recovering the actual weapons used in the crime and arresting two persons who had kept them hidden since August 21, the day of the crime. The State police had within four days of the crime “recovered” an ‘S’-shaped knife from the house of Kaari Sathish, one of the prime accused, but later reports said that this was made to order after the crime.

The CBI produced the two knives it recovered from the house in Mannanchery, Alappuzha, of one of the two persons arrested on Wednesday, before the Ernakulam Chief Judicial Magistrate, Kochi. It also produced in the court the arrested persons, Siddique and Ismail, relatives of Aby, the one who had organized the goonda gang present on the scene of murder on August 21. Aby was tenth accused in the case. The court left Siddique and Ismail in the custody of the CBI till Saturday for further interrogations.

Paul, executive director of the Kochi-based Rs 20,000-crore Muthoot Group, was murdered on the night of August 21 near Alappuzha and the police theory was that the murder was not premeditated but was committed “on the spur of a moment” following an altercation with the goonda gang over an accident. In a surprising move, the police had “arrested” all the main culprits within a few weeks and had also recovered the weapon, which later allegedly turned out to be a forged one.

However, the Kerala High Court on January 21 handed over the probe into the murder to the CBI on a petition from George Muthoot, Paul’s father and chairman of the Group. From the very beginning of the case, there were allegations that the crime had political connections with business ramifications, involving the son of an important Minister in the State Cabinet. The involvement of two Thiruvananthapruam-based goonda leaders with obvious connection with the CPI(M) strengthened this suspicion.

The CBI had taken Siddique and Ismail to custody on Tuesday from Mannanchery, Alappuzha and recorded their arrest on Wednesday. According to the duo, Aby had handed over the weapons to one Aneesh, who was yet to be arrested, who in turn gave it to Siddique. He handed over the weapons to Ismail for hiding them, they said. The CBI charged both of them with destruction of evidence.

While there was a public outcry against the way the State police probe was proceeding in the case, the ruling CPI(M) had kept on claiming that the police had acted efficiently by solving the mystery within a short period and arresting 20 of the total 23 accused in the case in a few weeks’ time. Even the High Court had reprimanded the Kerala Police several times for the way it had handled the case.

What would have been passed off as a gruesome but ordinary crime became a political controversy with State CPI(M) chief Pinarayi Vijayan interfering in the issue with the allegation that S-shaped knives were the trusted weapons of the RSS. In the context of the new discoveries made by the CBI, the Kerala Police would be forced to answer several disquieting questions regarding the crime and its interests behind jumping into hasty conclusions.

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