Kannur: Police on Thursday arrested seven of the accused in the Thalassaey double murder case involving an alleged drug mafia. According to Kannur City Commissioner Ajith Babu, five of the accused were directly involved in the crime, while the remaining two helped.
Police also revealed that the prime accused, Parayi Babu, of Nittoor, stabbed the victims -- K Khalid and Poovanayi Femeer. Parayi Babu was arrested from Iritty on Thursday.
The police had launched a manhunt for the accused in five teams. The police had earlier said that the accused had links with drug sales. The investigators also suspect that a dispute over a vehicle sale could also have been a motive behind the crime.
Babu's brother-in-law Jackson and two others -- Farhan and Naveen -- were also taken into custody earlier.
Khalid (52), a fisherman, and his brother-in-law Femeer (40) were hacked to death by the culprits on Wednesday. Police said the two men who were killed and a third person, who was the victims' relative, were attacked by the gang, a day after they brutally assaulted the son of one of the victims for objecting to the sale of banned substances by them.
Femmer's cousin Shanid (38), who was injured in the attack, is undergoing treatment at the Thalassery Cooperative Hospital.
It was Femeer's son, Shabeel, who was beaten up allegedly by the same gang the previous day, police said. The accused are absconding.
On Wednesday, while Khalid, Femeer and Shanid were at the hospital, the gang members allegedly called them to come outside to settle the matter amicably. As they came out of the hospital, the trio were allegedly attacked by the gang, which arrived in an autorickshaw, in the nearby parking area.
All three were admitted at the Thalassery Cooperative Hospital by local residents, but Khalid succumbed to his injuries there and Femeer, who was shifted to a private hospital in Kozhikode, died in the evening, police said.
It also said that a dispute over the sale of autorickshaws was probably another reason for the violence by the gang led by an auto driver.
Strict action against culprits: CM
Expressing shock over the crime, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the gruesome murder comes amid the ongoing mass campaign against intoxicants and contraband substances in the state, he said, adding strict legal action would be initiated against the culprits.
Vijayan said there has been widespread interference of people against drug abuse and questioning of the sale of intoxicants nowadays.
(With inputs from PTI)