A day after the alleged gruesome murder of a youngster in an apartment at Edachira near Kakkanad was unearthed, the police nabbed the key suspect, Arshad, from Manjeshwaram in Kasaragod on Wednesday afternoon.
Addressing the media here, District Police Chief (Kochi City) C.H. Nagaraju said he was picked up with the help of the Kasaragod police from near the railway station, foiling his alleged attempt to cross the border to Karnataka. A team from the Kochi city police is expected to bring him here late on Wednesday night.
The body of Sajeev Krishna, 23, from Malappuram was found wrapped in a bed sheet and shoved into a duct in the apartment, by his room-mates who entered the apartment using a duplicate key after repeated attempts to reach the victim failed. Arshad, a resident of Payyoli in Kozhikode, who had been reportedly staying in the apartment had gone missing since then.
Mr. Nagaraju said the police suspected the possibility of drug dealings to be a reason behind the murder. He added that while no synthetic substance was recovered from the apartment on the 16th floor of the 20-storey complex, indications, including smell, suggested it to be a place frequented by those into substance abuse.
Mr. Nagaraju held the apartment association accountable for the turn of events considering it to be a case of communication gap between the association and the police. The police should be alerted about the movement of strangers, especially youngsters, and any unusual incidents, which was the case in this particular apartment, so that the police could conduct raids to pre-empt such incidents.
He also insisted on a proper owner-tenant agreement avoiding instances of subletting to strangers who keep moving in and out of Kochi with a large floating population.
“We are probing whether more people are involved in the murder case. The suspect already had a case registered against him for theft at a jewellery shop at Kondotty a month ago. He had been absconding and hiding here,” said Mr. Nagaraju.
He said though the body was found on Tuesday, its condition suggested that the murder could have happened around 48 hours prior to it.
On the spike in crime rate in the city, Mr. Nagaraju, while admitting to it, observed that it was the case across the country. He said the Kochi city police had intensified patrol and were closely monitoring CCTV camera footage. Residents’ associations have been asked to install and maintain CCTVs properly.
He said the spike in crime rate was a definite socio-psychological issue that needed a study but said that it was not possible to regard it as a post-pandemic phenomenon in the absence of empirical evidence.
Reportedly, the police have taken into custody a friend of Arshad who had allegedly helped him abscond. When intercepted by the Kasaragod police, they were found in possession of nearly a kilogram of ganja, MDMA and hashish oil, said police sources.