One of the accused in the Walayar sisters case was found dead at his house in Vayalar of Alappuzha on Wednesday. Pradeep Kumar, 36, was working at a bakery in Palakkad when he named as an accused in the case. He later he shifted to Vayalar.
Police said that Pradeep may have taken his own life due to some financial issues. On Wednesday morning, Pradeep had gone to a nearby bank with his mother. After returning home he went inside his room. Since he didn't come out for a long time, relatives checked the room and found him dead. According to the police, he had many financial issues, as told by his relatives.
Valayar Neethi Samara Samithi, a group of protestors who continue to protest to get justice for the girls, have released a statement saying that they have suspicions about Pradeep's death. A statement by CR Neelakantan, known environmentalist and human rights activist, alleged that there were suspicions over another person who has not yet been named in the FIR. He said that Pradeep was suspected to have been connected to this unknown person (whom they call the sixth accused). Neelakantan alleged that Pradeep was murdered to protect this sixth accused.
Pradeep was a neighbour of the Walayar girls and was a friend of their step-father. He was the third accused in the case. In January 2017, the elder sister who was 11 years old was found dead in her house. Two months later in March, her nine-year-old younger sister was also found dead in the same place at their house. A massive uproar in the state following allegations that the children were sexually abused, which led to their death. A case was registered for abatement to suicide and rape.
There were four accused in the case. Pradeep Kumar was acquitted in the case in September 2019 by the First Additional Sessions Judge (Special POCSO Court) of Palakkad. Three other accused in the case were acquitted in October that year with the court stating that the police and prosecution failed to prove their involvement in the case. This led to massive protests in the state which even continue now.
In March 2020, following a High Court order, Pradeep along with two others V Madhu and M Madhu were rearrested and were released on bail. This after the state government moved the High Court seeking a reinvestigation in the case, following a huge protest.
A 17-year-old who was questioned by the police after the death of the sisters was also found dead earlier in 2019. His mother had alleged police torture caused his death. He was close friends with few of the accused. His mother alleged that he had injuries all over his body when he was released from the station. No case was registered against him in the Walayar death case.