Key accused in ‘human sacrifice’ case is a rape-accused

He is accused of murdering in ‘ritualistic human sacrifice’ one of the two women, who reportedly went missing from Kalady in June

Updated - October 12, 2022 01:50 pm IST

Published - October 12, 2022 05:56 am IST - KOCHI

A single room in this house, structured like a labour lodge with individual rooms, at Kadavanthra in Ernakulam was where Padmam, one of the victims of the Elanthoor human sacrifice case was living.

A single room in this house, structured like a labour lodge with individual rooms, at Kadavanthra in Ernakulam was where Padmam, one of the victims of the Elanthoor human sacrifice case was living. | Photo Credit: THULASI KAKKAT

Mohammed Shafi, aka Rasheed, the key accused in the murder of two women in suspected ‘human sacrifice’, has a rape case registered against him by the Puthencruz police.

He was accused of raping a 75-year-old woman in 2020. He was at the time employed as a lorry driver.

“We registered the First Information Report on August 3, 2020 and filed the chargesheet on October 17. The trial in the case is pending,” said the police.

He was released on bail after spending four months in jail. Out of the two women, he now stands accused of murdering in ‘ritualistic human sacrifice’ one, identified as Rosli, who went missing from Kalady in June and a case was registered by the Kalady police in August. It has emerged that she was the first of the two victims to be killed in June.

This has led to accusations, including by the Opposition, that had the Ernakulam Rural police been proactive about investigating the case, the truth would have come out much earlier, thereby pre-empting the murder of another woman in the same manner.

“Unfortunately, the Ernakulam Rural police could not establish any link between the victim and Shafi. We were already on the case but the investigation hit a wall. Neither could we make any progress tracking her mobile phone tower location nor could we find anyone whom the victim had contacted. In between, we came to know that she was into lottery sale in Kochi city but even that lead didn’t prove fruitful,” said Vivek Kumar, District Police Chief (Ernakulam Rural).

It has now emerged that Shafi had carefully chosen his victims considering that both were living away from their families and hence vulnerable. It is also reported that he had used a fake social media account to establish contact with Bhagaval Singh, another accused. Assuming a woman’s profile, Shafi told Singh about a traditional healer and gave his own number. Shafi spoke highly about the healer and convinced Singh that he could bring him economic prosperity. Singh never suspected that the healer he was introduced to was actually the ‘woman’ he had met on social media. Impressed, the couple invited Shafi for the rituals that eventually led to the human sacrifices.

A team from the Ernakulam Rural police also went to Elanthoor in Pathanamthitta where the murders were committed and the bodies were buried in the property of the couple. “We will seek the custody of Shafi and the other accused. Besides, the case registered for missing will be converted into a murder case invoking Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code,” said Mr. Kumar,

However, the Rural police are likely to get the custody only after the Kochi city police record their arrest.

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