In a bid to ascertain the presence of Shaji Purushothaman and Kumar alias ‘Kuthirai’ Kumar in the Mercedes that was involved in an accident on May 23, investigators have sent the car’s airbags for forensic analysis, the police said on Thursday.
Eyewitnesses to the accident had stated they saw Shaji driving the car and had pulled him out of the damaged car. The police are now pinning their hopes on scientific evidence to confirm this. “Besides checking for fingerprints on the wheel, we have sent the airbags, which opened at the time of impact, to the Tamil Nadu Forensic Science Laboratory to look for sweat, blood stains or any other evidence,” a senior police official said.
Suspension of licence
The police on Thursday said they would write to the State transport department seeking the immediate suspension of Shaji’s driving licence as he was involved in a case of drunken driving and a fatal road accident.
“Steps will be taken to impound his passport. Though many attempts were made to mislead the police, we pursued available evidence through sustained investigation and arrested all the accused persons,” the official who spoke on conditions of anonymity said.
Asked why the police had not sent a team to arrest the suspect in Bangkok, he said investigators were not sure of the extradition process in Thailand.
“We shut all options for the prime suspect and he had no other way but to return to India. After getting a non-bailable arrest warrant, we also got him declared as a proclaimed offender. The next logical step would have been to attach his properties.”
The tip-off that Shaji was arriving in Kochi from Bangkok via Colombo came from a travel agent, the police said. Acting at their behest, the agent had kept a watch on the details of Indian passengers departing from Bangkok by air. “We had specific information about Shaji’s time of arrival. Even before the immigration authorities could detain him, our team was waiting at the Kochi international airport,” the official said.
Meanwhile, Commissioner of Police S. George said the police dealt with cases of drunken driving and over-speeding very seriously. “Recently, we have intensified vehicle checks and night patrolling to reduce accidents. This exercise has brought down the number of deaths caused by road accidents by about 100 in the last three months. This is a case where over-speeding due to drunken driving resulted in the death of an innocent boy. When such acts are committed, one has to realise that he/she cannot escape the law,” Mr. George said.
It was days of investigation that led to the arrest of the scion of the Empee Group, who fled the country soon after the fatal accident. A special team, comprising joint commissioner of police R. Dhinakaran and deputy commissioner of police S. Rajendran, was monitoring the progress in the case and tracking the whereabouts of the main suspect.