The State police are verifying the allegation that policemen probing the murder of businessman Paul Muthoot George had planted evidence to implicate the main accused, Kari Satheesh, in the case.
A private news channel had broadcast the interview of a blacksmith who claimed that he had forged a knife, similar to that used for stabbing Mr. Paul, at the request of a sub-divisional officer in Alappuzha district.
The officer is part of the special team investigating the case. The media persons who conducted the interview said they had posed as policemen to “elicit the truth” from the blacksmith. Satheesh’s mother had claimed that the police had planted a curved dagger in her house at the time of her son’s arrest.
The police said they had found a mobile phone SIM card registered in the name of Satheesh’s mother at scene of crime. They said some person had made several calls from the spot using the same SIM card. They said several of Satheesh’s associates had given signed statements that it was Satheesh who stabbed Paul. These and certain other pieces of evidence, which will be revealed during trial, had prompted investigators to name Satheesh as one of the main accused in the case, they said.
The police said Paul Muthoot was murdered on the Alappuzha-Changanessry road early on August 22. He was driving a Ford Endeavour van along with one Dingan Manu, a key witness in the case. The vehicle got involved in a hit-and-run accident with a motorbike. A grouped of hired thugs, who were moving in three vehicles to give protection to a house, chanced to witness the accident after one of their vehicles broke down.
The gang chased Paul’s van in one of their vehicles. Investigators said Paul and Manu were not aware that they were being chased.
Investigators said Paul stopped a little away from the accident spot, got out of the van and discussed with Manu whether they should turn back and see what had happened to the motorbike rider.
The police said that both Paul and Manu were inebriated at the time. Their friends, Om Prakash and Kannanmoola Rajesh, both wanted men and proclaimed offenders, were tailing Paul’s van in a Mahindra Scorpio van. The van owned by Paul was driven by his chauffeur.
Investigators said that it seemed the gang caught Paul and Manu unawares. Paul was stabbed in the ensuing scuffle. Prakash and Rajesh soon reached the spot and shifted Paul to the hospital along with Manu in the Mahindra Scorpio van.
The wanted men, both fugitives, wanted to erase their presence at the scene of crime. The police version is that they fled the spot in the Ford Endeavour van, which developed engine trouble in Kollam. They abandoned the van and reached Thiruvananthapuram by hitching a ride on a truck. Later, they escaped to Tamil Nadu with the help of their associates.
Investigators said they were yet to see any conspiracy, stemming from personal or business rivalry, in Paul’s murder. They said Paul was stabbed in the back during the drunken brawl and it was more of an impetuous act than a premeditated murder. The police will be moving for the custody of Prakash and Rajesh for questioning in connection with the murder. They had surrendered before a court in Tamil Nadu on Tuesday. Investigators said the conspiracy angle, raised in certain sections of the media, will be thoroughly probed.