Victims bludgeoned to death while sleeping by the roadside at night
The Kollam police on Thursday arrested Motta Navas, 46, on charge of committing five murders in the city between June and August this year.
All the victims had been bludgeoned to death while they were sleeping by the roadside at night. The cases are reminiscent of the 41 killings by Raman Raghav in Mumbai in the mid 1960s, according to the police.
The Additional Director-General of Police (South Zone) had last month convened an emergency meeting and issued directions to constitute a special team headed by the City Police Commissioner Debesh Kumar Behera to speed up the probe.
After investigations which lasted about a fortnight a police team led by Circle Inspector V. Sugathan, Sub Inspector G. Gopakumar, and senior civil police officer Prasanna Kumar arrested Navas from the Nehru Park area in the city on Friday night.
Soon after the second murder, the police had suspected Navas and had taken him into custody. But he pretended to be mentally challenged and the police got him admitted to Government Mental Health Centre, Thiruvananthapuram. But psychiatrists found him mentally fit and he was discharged. He came back to Kollam and allegedly committed the other murders.
Mr. Gopakumar said that the first murder was committed on June 6 night. The victim, aged about 65 years, was hit on the head with a huge stone while he was sleeping under the SP Office Junction flyover which is under construction. He is yet to be identified.
The second murder was committed the very next night on the veranda of a shop near the Mulankadakam temple. Appukuttan Achary was bludgeoned in the nape of his neck, fatally damaging the spine. The third murder was on the night of June 18, also under the SP Office junction flyover. Bondan Kumar, 65, was hit on the head with a stone.
Two murder attempts
On August 3, Thankappan, 55, a native of Sasthamcotta, was found lying in a pool of blood inside the waiting shed of the Saint Joseph’s Convent School bus stand.
He was sleeping in the shed when Navas allegedly attacked. The fifth murder was committed on the night of August 21 at the veranda of the Municipal Building in Chinnakada. Sudarsanan, 45, was hit on the head with a stone.
Mr. Gopakumar said that Navas had attempted two more murders, but the victims escaped with injuries. Night patrol teams of the police had noticed Navas loitering in the city on those days, but on seeing the police party he feigned mental illness and was ignored by the police.
Jailed twice for murder
Allegedly a drug addict, Navas used to sleep by 8 p.m. and wake up at midnight to roam the city, targeting victims. The police suspect him to be psychopath. Mr. Gopakumar said Navas had confessed to the murders. In 1996 he was arrested on charges of murdering one Rajasekaran at Mundakkal and was jailed for four years. He was acquitted because there were no witnesses.
In 2007 he was arrested again on charges of murdering one Shamir at Karikode in the city following which he was arrested and convicted. He came out of jail last year. Navas was produced before a magistrate court here on Friday and remanded to the district jail.
Navas was held earlier, but he feigned mental illness Police suspect him to be a psychopath
Navas was held earlier, but he feigned mental illness
Police suspect him to be a psychopath