A sensational crime, in which influential men were trapped in sex and later the secretly-recorded video-footage was used to blackmail them for money, got a twist after one of the alleged accused was given harbor at legislators’ hostel in the state capital.
The arrested Jayachandran stayed in a room taken on behalf of former Congress legislator and KPCC functionary Sarathchandra Prasad, who belongs to the group of Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala.
Police were already facing charges of sabotaging the probe into the scandal. Last week, the police did not oppose the bail applications of two women arrested in the case.
Police had raided the legislators’ hostel on Wednesday night based on tip-off. Jayachandran managed to escape from the hostel complex, but was caught from outside.
Police had been hunting for Jayachandran, a key figure of the racket that linked the women with customers, who allegedly included NRIs, bureaucrats and politicians. Earlier this month, Kochi police had arrested Bindhya Thomas, B Ruksana, advocate Vaduthala Sanilan and Jacob alias Prajeesh, after an NRI complained that the gang had demanded Rs 3 crore after blackmailing him with the video of his secrete moments with the arrested two women.
Kochi police said they had recovered CDs containing video footage used for blackmailing the high profile victims, who allegedly included politicians, police officers and businessmen.
If the men, who had fallen in the trap failed to give the demanded money, the women used to file rape complaints with police. An NRI businessman’s suicide in Kollam earlier this month was construed as an outcome of the blackmailing. The businessman had faced a complaint filed by the arrested women.
At the legislators’ hostel complex, former legislators are allowed to stay at Rs 10 a day. Ex-Congress legislator Sarathchandra Prasad said he knew Jayachandran as an executive of event management. However, the room was booked for another person Sunil Kottarakkara. “ It was a normal practice to give rooms at our recommendation,” he said.
The issue triggered an outrage from CPI (M)-led Opposition. Speaker G Karthikeyan said strict regulations would be brought in regarding allotting rooms at the legislators’ hostel. However, it was the onus of the legislators and ex-legislators who should stay on their behalf.
The home minister said there was no lapse on the part of the police. Investigation was handed over to IG-level officer, he said.