The Ramankary First Class Judicial Magistrate, Subitha Chirakkal, on Monday released Om Prakash and Rajesh Puthenpalam, the 15th and 16th accused in the Paul Muthoot George murder case, for seven days of police custody. The Special Investigation Team probing the case recorded their arrest in connection with the case earlier in the day.
The day also saw the court rejecting the bail applications of 19 other accused in the case, out of the total 21 who have been arrested so far, while posting the decision on the bail application of Prakash and Rajesh to September 17. The 19 accused, whose bail applications were rejected, included first accused Jayachandran, second accused Sattar and 12th accused Kaari Satheesh. So far, 21 out of the 25 accused in the case were arrested.
The court proceedings, which were not in-camera and open to the public, began with the Muthoot murder case, after a huge police contingent brought Prakash and Rajesh to the court from Thiruvananthapuram around 10.30 a.m.
Assistant Public Prosecutor Manoj K. John, appearing for the police, submitted the custody petition of the police, asking for a custodial period of 12 days. He pointed out that the police required the duo in custody for a long period since the nature of their involvement in the case had to be probed thoroughly, whether they were eye-witnesses to the murder or part of any conspiracy; and also since they had to be taken to places including Pondicherry, Kodaikanal, Thrissur and other places where the two are suspected to have travelled with Paul prior to his murder. They also have to be taken to Tirunelveli, where they were holed up before surrendering.
Priyadarshan Thampi, appearing for the duo, argued that the two should be granted bail and not released into police custody since the charges against them amounted to obstruction of collection of evidence — they had fled with the vehicle in which Paul was travelling just before the murder — and since this was a bailable offence. The court, while reserving the decision on their bail plea to Thursday, released them to police custody for seven days.
Meanwhile, advocates for Kaari Satheesh and the other 18 accused said they would file yet another bail application before the Alappuzha Sessions Court on Tuesday.