A CBI special court in Thiruvananthapuram on Tuesday found thirteen people guilty of the murder of Paul Muthoot, the youngest son of George Muthoot, the CEO of Muthoot finances. Nine of those convicted, including the two main accused, Kari Satheesh and Jayachandran, have been given life sentences. The other four accused have been handed out a three year prison term by the court.
The scion of the Muthoot M George group, 32-year-old Paul was brutally murdered on 21 August 2009 when he was travelling through Alappuzha in Kerala. The court has found 13 out of the 14 accused guilty of murder and conspiracy. The court has found Kari Satheesh, the main accused, and nine others to be guilty of murder, while others have been found guilty of conspiracy. The CBI court has let off Aneesh, the14th accused in the case.
The CBI prosecutor has asked the court not to show any mercy to the killers and to give them the maximum punishment.
The road rage related murder had led to many conspiracy theories during the time in the state.
What muddied the case initially, were allegations that there was a political conspiracy behind the murder.
Later, an investigation by the CBI proved that Paul Muthoot, who had been partying hours before his death in a resort at Chambakulam with two men who were wanted in various criminal cases, had later driven in an SUV to another resort.
While driving, a group of assailants who were on their way for another contract killing witnessed Paul ramming into a motorcycle.
The assailants chased him and questioned him about the accident which led to a war of words between the two groups, eventually ending with Kari Satheesh stabbing Paul to death.
Detailed history of the case
The murder of Paul Muthoot George by a group of men travelling in a tempo traveller had captured the public attention in Kerala for quite some time. In 2010, the case was transferred to CBI following a petition filed by his father, George Muthoot in the Kerala High Court.
The CBI had then filed two charge sheets in the case, one for killing Paul and other for destruction of evidence.
According to the CBI's charge sheet, accused Jayachandran, a goonda leader from Changanaserry and second accused Kari Satheesh had stabbed Paul on that day following a sudden provocation. Seven of the accused turned approvers in the case.
In 2009 Satheesh had told the media publicly that he was the one who had killed Paul. But there were allegations that the goondas were acting on someone else's behest and was the murder was a pre-planned conspiracy.
The most crucial names related to the case were the men who Paul George had partied with, Om prakash and Puthampalan Rajesh, who were the 24th and 25th accused in the police case. The two men who were already on the police's wanted list for other crimes were made witnesses by the CBI as they had been travelling with Paul at the time of murder.
Even after the CBI probe, many other allegations surfaces, big names in politics and the movie industry were linked to the murder. But the CBI investigation proved that the young businessman was at the wrong place at the wrong time, and was a victim of road rage.
The Muthoot group is multi crore conglomerate which is into gold loans, hospitality and stockbroking.