The rural police have arraigned two Gulf-based businessmen as accused in the brutal murder of a local moneylender, Salim, 44, at Chirayankeezhu in July.

In the charge sheet filed before the Judicial First Class Magistrate, Attingal, on Saturday, the chief investigating officer, Deputy Superintendent of Police K.E. Baiju, named the suspects as Sherif and his business partner, Sanobar.

On July 21, the police had exhumed the dismembered body of Salim from the compound of a house rented by Sherif in a remote locality near Korani.

The police said the crime was a cunningly planned and remorselessly executed “murder-for-profit case.” The accused hoped to amass wealth, nearly Rs.1 crore they took on a high-interest loan from Salim, by killing the moneylender.

Sherif, a taxi driver in Riyadh in Saudi Arabia, had borrowed nearly Rs.75 lakh on interest from Salim last year. He and Sanobar used the amount to run their own moneylending operation among other migrant workers in Riyadh. Salim was reported missing since July 9. Investigators found that Salim had received a few calls on his mobile phone from a “newly initiated SIM connection” on the day he disappeared.

They learned that a SIM card vendor in Kallambalam had initiated the connection after inadvertently accepting photocopies of cleverly forged documents, including that of a passport, as identity proof.

The photograph on the passport copy turned out to be that of a Bangladeshi citizen and the document's number was seen altered. Forensic experts retrieved the original number of the passport by scientifically examining its forged copy. The passport belonged to a resident of Kannur employed in Riyadh. He told the police that he had given his passport as collateral to Sherif from whom he had taken a loan.