Nineteen years after a 13-year-old boy went missing, Kerala police have found he was murdered for a gold chain. In the interregnum between the crime and its delayed cracking, the accused allegedly poisoned his accomplice and kept the boy’s family under the impression he was kidnapped, the police said.
Muthumoolayil Mahadevan, son of Vishwananthan Achari, went missing on September 8, 1995 from his home at Changanassery in Kottayam district. After several rounds of probe, initiated at the intervention of the Kerala HC, police Wednesday arrested M E Harikumar, now 43. On Thursday, the police found the accused had also murdered his accomplice Salimon by poisoning. The mysterious death of another accomplice Pramod alias Kannan is also being probed.
Police said Harikumar, addicted to buying lottery tickets, had been running a cycle shop near Achari’s store. Mahadevan had gone to repair his cycle when Harikumar lured him to his shop and strangulated him to death. Police said the motive was to rob the boy of a gold chain as he needed money to buy lottery tickets. He disposed the body with the help of accomplices Salimon and Pramod.
Harikumar made anonymous calls and sent letters, saying they had kidnapped the boy. Achari lodged a complaint with the police. The boy’s family later moved the Kerala HC which issued an order to constitute a special team to probe the case. Achari died in 2006 while his wife Vijayalakshmi passed away three years ago.
Police said the breakthrough came after a worker at Achari’s shop said he had seen the Mahadevan going to Harikumar’s cycle shop. Police grilled Harikumar, who confessed to the crime. Police said Salimon, one of the two accomplices, used to extract money from Harikumar threatening to reveal the crime. Tired of intimidation, Harikumar invited Salimon to his shop and poisoned him.
Investigating officer K J Simon said a fresh murder case has been registered based on Harikumar’s revelation that he murdered Salimon. Meanwhile, the death of Pramod has also come under police eye and a probe is being launched.
The assailants then got into the car in which they came and drove off.