A man, who published news of his own death in prominent newspapers in the state, and then went into hiding has been held by the police.
Joseph Melukunnel, 75, a resident of Taliparambu in Kannur district had visited offices of Malayalam newspapers on November 29 to publish news of his own death. Giving them a photo of a younger version of himself, Joseph lied that it was his elder brother who died. Only, the news was of his own death.
The news item, that came out the next day in papers, said Joseph ‘died’ while undergoing treatment at the Regional Cancer Centre in Thiruvananthapuram. The obituary spoke of Joseph’s agricultural accomplishments and said his last rites will be conducted on December 1 after being placed for public homage at his son Shiju Joseph’s home in Thiruvananthapuram.
A shocked family, however, lodged a missing complaint at the local Thaliparambu police station denying reports of Joseph’s death.
On Tuesday, Joseph was picked up by police from a private hotel in Kottayam. Earlier in the day, he had visited a bank inquiring whether he could send some gold ornaments and money to his wife. He posed as a relative of the ‘dead’ Joseph. After the bank secretary contacted his counterpart in Kannur and realized that it was Joseph himself sitting before him, Joseph lied and slipped out. He was later held by the police through the bank officials.
“We don’t know why he (Joseph) published news of his death. According to his wife, he is a cancer patient. We will bring him to Kannur and produce him before the magistrate. We have to find out why he did this,” said PK Sudhakaran, circule inspector of Thaliparambu police station.