Kerala police chief Loknath Behera has personally involved himself in the investigation process of the sensational Koodathayi serial murders. On Saturday morning, the top cop drove down from Kannur to visit the Ponnamattam house at Koodathayi in Kozhikode, where three of the six alleged serial murders are said to have taken place. Due to the serious nature of the case, the DGP personally interrogated Jolly Joseph - who is the prime suspect in the six deaths - for 30 minutes. The interrogation took place at the Vadakara Rural SP office which he visited following the Koodathayi house inspection.
For the house inspection, Behera was accompanied by the special investigating team (SIT) which included Range IG Ashok Yadav, Kozhikode rural SP KG Simon and the DYSPs who are investigating the alleged murders. He was apprised about the various developments and progress in the case by the SIT.
According to various reports, the DGP spent around 20 minutes at the Ponnamattam house in Koodathayi. He visited the house and personally inspected all the rooms where the alleged murders are said to have taken place. He then went around the premises of the house and inspected the area.
The Ponnamattam house in Koodathayi is crucial to the case as this is where Tom Thomas, his wife Annamma and son Roy Thomas are said to have died. At the centre of these alleged murders is 47-year-old Jolly Joseph, former wife of Roy, who is believed to have poisoned them using cyanide and pesticide.
Speaking to the media, Behera added that more officers will be included in the investigation team and that the police will establish maximum circumstantial and scientific evidences in the case. The services of experts will also be availed in order to establish this evidence to strengthen the case, he added.
The involvement of the DGP points to the seriousness of the investigation process by the Kerala police. The next steps in the probe will be decided after consultations between the top cop and the SIT members.
On Friday, the crime branch investigating the case had inspected the Ponnamattam house for evidence collection along with prime suspect Jolly. According to latest reports, the team retrieved bottles with a white powdery substance from Jolly’s bedroom which is suspected to be cyanide. The contents in the bottle have now been sent for testing.
The first of the Koodathayi serial deaths took place 17 years ago, when Annamma - Jolly’s mother-in-law passed away suddenly in 2002. Six years later in 2008, her husband Tom Thomas too died with similar symptoms. In 2011, Roy Thomas, Jolly’s husband passed away after he collapsed in the bathroom of the same house.
In 2014, Roy’s uncle and Annamma’s brother Mathew too passed away after showing similar symptoms which included seizures, apnea and foaming in the mouth.
Two other deaths, which the police believe involve Jolly, are those of Cily and Alphine. Cily is the former wife of Jolly’s current husband Shaju and Alphine was their 2-year-old daughter. Both died within the space of two years. However, Jolly has denied poisoning and attempting to murder Alphine in her statements to the Crime Branch. The police are expected to arrest more suspects in the coming days.