On June 16, Sunday, 55-year-old Vikraman had informed his family that he was going to New Delhi to deliver a herd of cows there, and left his house in Chengannur, Idukki district. Exactly a week later, on June 23 (Sunday), his son, Arun Vikraman, received the dead body of his father near the Delhi airport.
As soon as Vikraman’s body was brought to Alappuzha on Monday, Arun filed a complaint with the police in Kerala. On Tuesday, after the post-mortem, Vikraman’s body was cremated.
Even as the post-mortem report is yet to be released, Arun points out that there was a host of mysteries surrounding the death of his father - the man who sent him to deliver the cows, his father’s sudden illness and the manner in which the dead body was embalmed, among others.
According to Arun, a man, who is known in his neighbourhood as ‘Swamy’, had asked Vikraman to go to Delhi to deliver a herd of Vechur cattle - a rare breed of cow from Kerala - to an ashram there.
“My father started his journey on June 16 from Kattappana in Idukki, in a Delhi-registered vehicle, with the cows. He was communicating with us throughout the journey. On June 21, Friday, he called us and said he reached an ashram in Mathura, Uttar Pradesh, although his destination was Delhi. The next day, on Saturday, he informed us that he was not feeling well and that he was throwing up blood. He even told us that they (the people at the ashram) had kept him locked in a room without any toilet facility and drinking water,” Arun told TNM.
Arun tried contacting the man who sent his father, Swamy, but it did not yield any results.
“Swamy has some connections in UP and this ashram. My father, who was engaged in making concrete well rings, met Swamy at his work site - this is what his co-workers told us,” he says.
“My father, who was unwell, asked me to go to Swamy’s house to get him some help. That was the first time I was meeting Swamy. When I apprised him of the situation, he told that my father was being attended to and taken to a hospital. He also gave me some numbers of people associated with the ashram. However, my father said he was still locked in the room,” says Arun.
Desperate, Vikraman asked his son to come to the ashram and take him home. By Saturday evening, Vikraman’s phone was switched off. Arun reached Delhi on Sunday morning.
“Swamy asked me to go to Delhi, instead of UP, saying that the people at the ashram will bring my father to Delhi. When I reached Delhi, they asked me to take a room near the airport and wait for them. By evening, they told me that my father is dead,” he recounts.
Arun says he was handed over the body in the wee hours of Monday.
However, when the body was taken to TD Medical College in Vandanam, Alappuzha, Arun and his family were informed that the death certificate was fake. “The hospital authorities also told us that my father probably could have been saved if he had received treatment on time, it might have contributed to his death,” Arun says, adding that the family has not received Vikraman’s cash and mobile phone.
Under these suspicious circumstances, Arun approached the Chengannur police.
The complaint was filed on Tuesday and the police have initiated investigation under section 174 of Code Of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), which requires the police to inquire and report if the officer in charge receives information that a person has committed suicide or died under suspicious circumstances.
“The inquest into Vikraman’s death has been completed. We are currently awaiting the post-mortem report,” the Circle Inspector of Chengannur police station in Alappuzha told TNM, without divulging further information.