Updated: August 6, 2022 6:54:43 am
A missing carrier of smuggled gold; a gang desperate for the contraband; a suicide bid in a rival gang; and a failed escape attempt.
A 26-year-old Kerala man’s alleged entanglement with a gold smuggling gang ended in tragedy and, as it turned out, a mix-up of bodies, as police Friday said they had solved the mystery of a decomposed corpse that washed up on the Kozhikode seashore last month and arrested four people.
How the body got there could well be the plot of a potboiler.
Irshad, a resident of Perambra in Kozhikode, returned to India from Dubai on May 14, allegedly carrying smuggled gold worth Rs 60 lakh, according to police. On July 6, he went missing, allegedly abducted by the smuggling gang to whom he failed to return the gold.
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According to his family, he had handed over the contraband to a different gang.
The family, though, did not file a missing persons complaint with police until July 28, fearing for Irshad’s life.
Police sources said Irshad was abducted and kept hostage for several days. Police said he may have tried to escape by jumping into a river while the gang was taking him from one location to another. The family alleges he was killed and thrown into the river.
Amid all this, a member of the rival gang that allegedly received the gold, Shameer, was arrested. He made a suicide bid and is currently undergoing treatment.
With Irshad’s whereabouts unknown, a body was found at the seashore near Koyilandy in Kozhikode on July 17. The decomposed body was mistaken as that of another missing person. This man, Deepak, 36, had worked as a security officer in Abu Dhabi before returning to Kerala in 2021 after losing his job owing to the pandemic.
Without waiting for the DNA report, police handed over the body to Deepak’s family, who cremated it on July 19. It was only after the cremation that the result of the DNA test came out — the body was not Deepak’s.
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On August 1, police arrested one of the accused. Later, two others in the gang were also arrested. The breakthrough came when police found witnesses who saw a man jumping into a river near Koyilandy. The second DNA test that followed confirmed that the body was Irshad’s.
Kozhikode rural SP R Karuppasamy said: “We have confirmed that the dead person is Irshad. The DNA of the recovered body is matching with the parents of Irshad. We are looking the case from a murder angle. Four persons have been arrested so far and more people in Kerala as well as in the MIddle East are involved in it,’’ he said.
This is not the gold smuggling gang’s first brush with infamy. In May, an expatriate who returned from Saudi Arabia was abducted by this gang from Kochi airport after he reportedly failed to hand over gold. The gang assaulted the expat, Abdul Jaleel, a resident of Agali in Palakkad, and abandoned him at a hospital in Malappuram, where he died.
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