Twenty five years after he fled to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), a key accused in the 1995 murder of a Muslim League worker in Kerala has landed in the police net in Kozhikode when he arrived by a chartered flight carrying evacuees from Sharjah.
Shafeek Malangadan, nephew of Nilambur indepdenent Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) PV Anwar, was arrested on Wednesday after immigration officials at the international airport identified him based on a pending look out notice, police said.
The man, now 50 years old, had escaped to the Gulf soon after the brutal killing of Othayi Manaf Palliparamban on April 13, 1995 resulting from a family feud and had been absconding since then, the police said.
Anwar was also among the accused in the case but had been exonerated along with 21 others by a trial court. An appeal against the acquittal filed by Manaf's brother is pending in the Kerala High Court.
In all, there were 26 accused in the case, including Shafeek and his brother Sherif who also remained absconding along with two others.
After the high court ordered police to issue a look out notice for them, the latter three surrendered before the court and were arrested. After the three others surrendered, Shafeek had been the only accused who remained at large, Edavanna Circle Inspector Sibin said.
Airport sources said that Shafeek was hopeful of sneaking out under the cover of evacuation as part of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the immigration officials were alert enough to identify him when he landed in Kerala on Tuesday night.
He was later handed over to the Edavanna police, where the murder case has been registered, they said.
Shafeek was produced before a Magistrate court which remanded him to judicial custody for 14 days.