The Special Investigation Team probing the sensational Jolly Joseph serial murders in Kerala has submitted its first chargesheet in the case on Wednesday.
The 8000-page chargesheet focusing on the murder case of Roy Thomas, Jolly’s first husband, names three other accused persons apart from 47-year old Jolly Joseph. While Jolly remains the prime accused, her relative MS Mathew, his friend Prajikumar and a local CPI(M) leader Manoj Kumar have been named second, third and fourth accused respectively. While Mathew and Prajikumar are accused of procuring cyanide for Jolly, Manoj Kumar allegedly helped her create a fake will. According to the police, Manoj had also been aware of the murders she planned to carry out.
Addressing the media after submitting the chargesheet, Kozhikode rural SP KG Simon, who leads the team, said that the officers had recovered cyanide from Jolly’s house. They had also found that Jolly had poisoned the water that Roy drank and the dinner he ate after returning home on the night of his murder.
“We have found a sample of cyanide from the house. The substance she had pointed out to us during evidence collection and the samples we found in the car later did not turn out to be cyanide when we ran tests. However we later found a confirmed sample of cyanide from the house,” KG Simon told the media.
Jolly and her husband Roy Thomas had been facing marital issues for a while before the murder. According to KG Simon, the 47-year old had also planned to poison her husband as he had a drinking problem and had not been earning a steady income. “There were several issues that the two of them faced. We have proof that Roy even met practitioners of black magic to try and fix issues with his wife,” he said.
On the day of his murder – September 30, 2011 – Jolly had ensured that the children had slept early. On confirming that they were asleep, she went on to add cyanide to Roy’s water and the chickpea curry that she had cooked for dinner.
“Roy had a habit of drinking a glass of water on returning home. This is why she decided to add cyanide to the water, in case he did not have dinner. She then washed the dishes to cover her tracks. Only after this did she call all the relatives to inform them that Roy had died. She told them that he had suffered a heart attack,” Simon added.
According to the police, out of all the witnesses that Jolly had spoken to, she had told only one witness that Roy had eaten dinner at home.
“To the others she had said that she had been cooking eggs to serve for dinner when Roy had collapsed and died. When we questioned the witnesses, Jolly’s lie was exposed and we began to probe further,” Simon added.
The couple’s children also had no idea about their father’s death. It was only the following day, when they saw arrangements being made for his funeral, that they came to know about his death, Simon added.
Confessions of seven witnesses, including those of Jolly’s two children have been recorded by a magistrate under section 164 of the CrPC.
Along with the chargesheet, the police have also submitted three of Jolly’s fake educational degrees – an MCom certificate, a BCom certificate and a UGC NET certificate – which they recovered during evidence collection. The team has also recovered her NIT ID card.
“One of the first things that got us to suspect her was her behaviour. She had even tried to stop the bodies of the six deceased persons to be exhumed. We have gauged her behaviour and found evidence of all her movements and activities. When we found out that she was not a professor at NIT, then her false claims started getting exposed,” Simon added.
The SIT have also found evidence of transactions where money and property belonging to Roy’s father Tom Thomas were found to have been transferred to Jolly. “We found that Jolly had also been receiving Tom Thomas’s insurance money. She had also been using her father-in-law’s assets to purchase a car by paying money in instalments of Rs 15,000,” Simon added.
Meanwhile, Jolly’s current husband Shaju Zacharias who, had also been questioned by the police several times on his involvement in the murders, was found to have no connection to Roy Thomas’ death.
According to Simon, the principal motive behind the alleged murders was Jolly’s desperation to sustain her web of lies. “She had lied to her in-laws, fabricated educational degrees, lied about a job for 14 years and created a fake will to get her father-In law’s property. She was desperate to sustain the narrative and in the process committed the murders as well,” Simon added.