G. Ratheesh, the 30-year-old man who was stabbed to death on St. Andrew’s beach on New Year’s day, had first created a police record for himself in 2003 when he was named as seventh accused in the case relating to the double murder of Kochu Kutty alias Shyam Kumar, 26, and Vinod, 23, at Kalpana Colony near Menamkulam.
The police are now investigating whether Ratheesh’s murder was a tit-for-tat gangland killing to avenge Shyam and Vinod, whose deaths were particularly cruel.
The police case against Ratheesh in 2003 was that he along with a few others had killed Vinod and Shyam at the behest of Kalpana Suresh, an alleged gang leader in the locality. According to the police, Shyam and Vinod were members of a gang headed by Suresh, himself an accused in several cases of murder and armed attacks. The duo parted ways with their leader following an altercation over the sharing of proceeds from a protection money racket they ran in the locality.
The police case was that Suresh’s henchmen enticed Shyam and Vinod to a small sand dune behind a flour mill at Kalpana Colony to share a bottle of liquor. The accused then knocked them unconscious and suffocated them to death by forcibly holding their faces under the sand.
Forensic doctors, who performed the autopsy on the bodies, concluded that ‘construction of air passages due to sand intrusion’ and ‘trauma inflicted on the chest region’ had caused the deaths. The suspects then abandoned the bodies in front of the Medical College Hospital casualty here. Some local people who were assembled on the beach as part of New Year celebrations told the police that Ratheesh and two of his friends were sitting in the shade of a beached country boat from early morning. At around 11 a.m., three youth approached them and wished them a “happy new year”.
A few minutes later, the local people saw the youth chasing Ratheesh and stabbing and hacking him to death. They also attacked his friends, who ran away. Ratheesh was rushed to a primary health centre where he was pronounced dead at noon.
Deputy Superintendent of Police B. Prasanthan said the police had so far found no other motive for the murder. Investigators had heard rumours that Ratheesh and his friends had a fight with a gang of youngsters at the colony. They are investigating whether the altercation had any bearing on the crime.
The police have detained two persons, Lijin and Sabu, in connection with the murder.