The city police on Wednesday filed a charge sheet against six persons accused of the murder of gemstone dealer Hari Hara Varma, 68, here on December 24. The accused are M. Jitesh, a real estate agent; his Bangalore-based associates V. Ajeesh, Rakhin, Ragheesh, J. Joseph, all in their thirties; and Varma’s legal adviser ‘Advocate’ Haridas, 50. They have been charged with conspiracy, causing hurt by means of poison, murder, dacoity, and destruction of evidence under Sections 120 (b), 328, 302, 396 and 301 respectively of the IPC.

Except for Haridas and Joseph, son of an affluent planter at Coorg, the rest hail from lower middle class families in Kannur and Kozhikode. The men were part of a fraternity of Keralite students in Bangalore. All are first-time offenders.

The police case was that the suspects met him as buyers at a house he had rented here and spiked his drink, and that of Haridas, with sleeping pills, which had no effect on the men. Then they allegedly smothered them with chloroform-soaked cloth, gagged them, confiscated the “gems” and fled the spot. (Forensic doctors concluded that Varma had died from the effects of “chloroform smothering and blunt force applied on his throat”.)