Sooraj, the prime accused in the murder of his wife Uthra, and snake-catcher Suresh are presently in the custody of the Forest Department. The officials have now revealed that they have got substantial evidence against the accused and may seek an extension of the custody period which is set to end soon.
The Forest Department has registered a case against the accused for keeping the snake, misusing it -- Sooraj is accused of murdering his wife with the snake -- and then killing it. If proven guilty, Sooraj and Suresh can get up to seven years of imprisonment under wildlife laws.
Kollam Range Forest Officer BR Jayan told the media that Suresh had allegedly been using cobra hatchlings to provide customers a 'high' with snake venom.
"Some would take a hatchling and make it bite below their tongue. We have got information that he used to take Rs 15,000 for a single bite," the officer said.
The Forest Department has reportedly found videos of Suresh catching the snake which was later sold to Sooraj. According to the police, Sooraj had tried to kill Uthra using a viper in March, but she survived. However, he allegedly used a king cobra to kill her in May.
"The first snake was also provided by Suresh and after the viper bit Uthra, he knew that Sooraj was planning to kill his wife. He sold him the king cobra knowing that it was for some mischief," BR Jayan alleged.
Sooraj is said to have taken the snake on April 24 this year from Enathu in Kollam, and used it on May 6. The officer added that Sooraj had planned everything, like an experienced person. He also claimed that Sooraj had kept the snake with him for many days and that the Forest Department has collected all the required details.
On June 21, during evidence collection, the forest official explained to the media how Sooraj allegedly used the snake to kill his wife. The accused, who was present, agreed with the officer's explanation in front of mediapersons.
Meanwhile, a six-member expert committee has stated that a five foot cobra cannot enter an airconditioned room through a window, and that this suggests that somebody had intentionally brought the snake inside Uthra's room. The findings of the committee will stand as evidence against Sooraj.
Uthra died in the early morning of May 7. The alleged first attempt to murder using a viper was on March 2. After treatment, Uthra was discharged from the hospital on April 22. Suresh, Sooraj and Sooraj's father Surendran have been arrested in the case.