After three days of rigorous hunting for the 33-year-old Kerala man who brutally tortured his 27-year-old partner, the Kochi city police finally managed to arrest the man on June 10 night. The accused, Martin Joseph, had tortured and sexually assaulted his partner, a Kannur native, after forcefully confining her in a Kochi apartment for over 20 days, inflicting injuries all over her body. The issue came out in public after the woman shared photographs of her injuries to the media. Questions have been raised against the Kochi city police's lackadaisical attitude, as they did not arrest the accused even two months after the woman filed a complaint. Martin was nabbed from a forest area in Thrissur district. For the past two days, Kochi police had been camping in the spot. On Thursday night, the police, along with the aid of residents in the region, found an abandoned building where he had been hiding.
It was on March 8 that the woman who was in Martin's forceful confinement from February 15, managed to escape from the apartment in Kochi. The woman had been living with Martin, a share trader, since last year. According to the police, after she returned back to her home in Kannur, Martin started threatening her that he would publicise her private photos, which made her go back to him. She was horribly tortured by Martin once she returned. In a recent interview to a channel, the woman revealed how he assaulted her- from sexual assault to physical assault, Martin used to hit her with a belt, pour hot water over her bruises, pour chilly water over her eyes to prevent her from sleeping. She had even recalled how Martin made her drink toilet water and urine. Though the woman had filed a police complaint on April 8, a month after she escaped, no arrest was made. It was after she opened up about her story in the media that the police strengthened their probe.
Reacting to the criticism of the delay in finding the accused, Kochi city police Commissioner Nagaraju CH stated that a departmental inquiry has been started on the issue. â€śWe agree that this much focus was not given for the case before, that is true. We hadnâ€™t used all the resources we used now for the probe earlier. But we cannot accept that we did not do anything. Whatever we had to do legally, we had done. We have been tracing his location, issued lookout notices, blocked passport, etc,â€ť Commissioner Nagaraju told the media. He said that such a grievous case was not brought to the notice of higher police officials in the city. â€śWe have started an inquiry to find out what really happened,â€ť he said.
â€śIt is only after the incident was reported in the media, along with the photographs, we noticed it was a grave assault. At least 10 cases of domestic violence get reported in each district every month. Once this came to our notice, we made the probe stronger,â€ť Commissioner said. The photos of the woman which surfaced, showed massive bruises and blood clots all across her body, including arms, legs, thighs and back.
Meanwhile, another Kochi woman filed a complaint on June 10 against Martin accusing him of physical assault. The police have also arrested three of Martinâ€™s friends -- Dhanesh, Sreerag and John Joy -- all Thrissur natives, who helped him to abscond. Police have also seized three vehicles, two cars (Swift and BMW) and a motorcycle.
Kochi police are now investigating more activities of the arrested men. â€śWill are probing about their financial activities and livelihood and how they could live luxuriously, with costly vehicles and in high end apartments. We are also investigating if there are more complaints about them. One of the accused was earlier booked in an NDPS (Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act) case. Though they were involved in all these activities, we are investigating how they were able to evade police all along,â€ť said the police Commissioner.
Martin is booked under sections 323 (Punishment for voluntarily causing hurt), 324 (Voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means), 344 (Wrongful confinement for ten or more days), 376(Punishment for rape), 420 (Cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property) and 506 (Punishment for criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code, while the other three accused are booked for harbouring the offender. Martin has been booked under IPC section 354 (Assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty) on the complaint of the second woman.
Meanwhile, the Kerala High Court on Friday rejected the anticipatory bail petition filed by accused Martin Joseph.
Watch video: Inside black fungus treatment ward