The arrest of 11 persons has been recorded on Monday in connection with the murder of Paul Muthoot George, who was killed on the Alappuzha-Changanassery Road on Saturday.

Announcing this at a press conference here, Inspector General of Police (Ernakulam Range) Vinson M. Paul said the 11 persons were part of a group of around 22 persons, allegedly hired for criminal activities including murder, who were on their way to Alappuzha from Changanassery. As per preliminary investigation reports, the group had an altercation with Mr. George, which ended in his murder.

Mr. Paul said that statements from the arrested and others who were questioned pointed to a sequence of events, which began with the vehicle driven by Mr. George hitting a motorcycle near Pallathuruthy while Mr. George and his co-passengers were on their way to his resort at Champakulam.

The group from Changanassery, who were travelling in four vehicles including two Tempo Traveller vans, saw the accident and shouted at Mr. George to stop his car, which he did not. A part of the group, who were fixing a flat tyre of one of the vans, then jumped onto the other van and went after him. They are said to have found his car stopped on the roadside around 2.5km from the accident site. They stopped their van in front of his car and got engaged in an argument with him. A scuffle ensued and in the melee, one of them stabbed Mr. George.

By this time, Mr. George’s driver Shibu, who had stopped at Pallathuruthy to get the resort’s keys, arrived at the spot on Mr. George’s personal vehicle. The group saw him and escaped towards Alappuzha. While Shibu took Mr. George and Manu, who was injured in the scuffle, to the Alappuzha General Hospital, two other persons were with Mr. George from Ernakulam, Omprakash and Rajesh, are said to have escaped with the Ford Endeavour, which was found abandoned near Chavara in Kollam on Sunday.

Mr. Paul said the person who is suspected to have stabbed Mr. George was yet to be apprehended. Efforts were onto trace Omprakash and Rajesh, both of whom have well-recorded criminal antecedents. Calls to mobile phones of all those involved in the case were being analyzed while the investigation would also check whether there was any conspiracy involved.

Almost all the persons in both groups, including Mr. George, were in an inebriated condition, Mr. Paul said, adding that the investigation was still very far from over. The 11 persons arrested on Monday were produced before court later.

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