The Crime Branch on Monday arrested driver Victor Samuel and crewman Anish of ‘Jalakanyaka’, the fibre boat which capsized in the Mullaperiyar Lake at Thekkady on Wednesday, last week, killing 45 tourists on board.

The Crime Branch brought Samuel, who was undergoing treatment at a hospital in Theni after the mishap, to the accident spot and collected evidence on Monday morning.

The preliminary inquiry by the Crime Branch revealed that the ill-fated boat was overloaded with 12 persons on the upper deck. The “carelessness” of the driver led to the accident, in that, when he “suddenly turned the boat to the right, after the tourists sighted the wild animals” they moved to one side causing imbalance.

The Crime Branch had questioned Anish, who revealed that additional tourists were accommodated on the upper deck, “contradicting” the driver's stand that the sudden movement of tourists to one side resulted in the imbalance on one side, leading to the accident.

An official of the Crime Branch in Thekkady said that the versions of the survivors would also be considered before submitting the final report. The Crime Branch, Kottyam, led by the Superintendent of Police, had collected evidence on the spot and would also seek details from the survivors from outside Kerala.

The case charged against the driver was for causing death unintentionally. Crime Branch sources said that the arrested will be produced before the Magistrate Court at Peerumade, in the evening.

The body of Abhilash and Apoorva — from Hyderabad — were handed over to the relatives by 10.30 p.m. on Sunday. Their parents Sunnur and Malathy had survived the accident.

The ill-fated boat owned by the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation was brought to the boat landing station in Thekkady.


Thekkady tragedy: toll mounts to 45October 4, 2009