At 11 a.m. on August 8, 2012, 21-year-old Gangadharan Anand’s mother spoke to her son for the last time.

She had called him to check his whereabouts, and as usual, he said he would “call back”. There was nothing in his voice that suggested he never would.

Anand’s mother had reasons to be anxious for her son.

The fourth semester Polytechnic student had successfully undergone a de-addiction programme for narcotic drug abuse.

The family was at peace. They had pulled their son back from the abyss. But, Anand’s mother knew that the peace could be fragile. There was a good chance that her son could relapse into his old ways and she always kept tabs on him.

But Anand never relapsed. He focused on his studies and friendships. On the day he was murdered, Anand, along with his friend Dennis, had gone to Beemapally to buy a smart phone that matched his budget. And, then, unexpectedly, his past caught up with him.

According to the police charge-sheet filed in the court of District Judge K.P. Indira, two drug peddlers of Chitra Nagar colony, near Pound Kadavu, spotted Anand. The youth had bought marijuana from them earlier.

The gang’s drug business had taken a beating due to continuous police raids. And its leader, “Blackie” Shibu, who has a notorious police record, including armed highway robberies and crude bomb attacks on police and underworld rivals, thought his former client Anand was the police informer, the charge-sheet said.

The duo forced Anand and Dennis to accompany them to the nearby colony. According to the prosecution, Shibu kept tapping Anand on the head with a powerful crude explosive while two of his gang members questioned him.

“Anand received his mother’s call when the prime accused was holding a throw-down type country bomb (one which explodes on impact) to his head. He said he will call back. Then he received a second call, this time from his friend. He said that he had a problem. The suspects thought Anand was talking to his police handler, pushed him back and hurled the bomb at his head. It exploded, shattering his skull and killing the youth instantly,” Sajan Prasad, the Special Prosecutor in the case said.

Dennis fled. He narrowly missed the second bomb, which was aimed at him. The police arrested Shibu, his brother, Subash, and accomplice, Sreeju, on the charges of murder, abduction, threatening, and illegal possession and use of explosives. They arrested Shibu’s mother on the charges of drug peddling. Neighbours, who witnessed the incident, testified against the suspect on their own in front of the magistrate.

Circle Inspector K. Pramod and Sub-Inspector C. Mohanan filed the charge-sheet in the case.