Kasaragod: Bekal police are considering exhuming the body of an NRI businessman after his family realised that gold jewellery worth around Rs 2.85 crore was missing from the house and raised suspicion over his death.
The family and residents have named a female 'jinn' or genie as the prime suspect in the case of missing gold and the death of M C Gafoor (53), an NRI who owned four supermarkets in Dubai and Sharjah.
Gafoor was found dead in his house at Poochakkad, near Bekal Fort, in Kasaragod's Pallikkare grama panchayat in the early hours of April 14, a Friday.
"We will have to see if the missing gold is linked to the death before taking a call on exhuming the body," said Bekal Deputy Superintendent of Police C K Sunil Kumar. But the family did name the jinn in their complaint, he said. "They said there is a relationship. We will have to investigate it," he said.
Another officer at Bekal Police Station said they have initiated the process to exhume the body buried at the Juma Masjid in Poochakkad.
Gafoor is survived by his wife Sharifa, son Muzamil, who runs the business in the UAE, and daughters Umme Kulsum and Fathimath Rahma.
His three brothers Sharief, Usman, and Akbar are part of the business in the UAE. "The brothers are close-knit. Gafoor was much-loved in the village because of his generosity and social intervention," said a cousin and social worker, who requested anonymity.
Died alone at home?
On April 13, Gafoor dropped his wife Sharifa and youngest daughter Fathimath Rahma (15) at her house at Melparamba, 13 km away, and returned home around 2 pm.
He broke the day's fast in the evening with the food delivered from his brother's house in the neighbourhood.
The next day, Friday, Gafoor did not turn up for the pre-dawn meal at his brother's house. When they checked on him, they found him dead in the house.
"He did not have any illness. He was healthy and financially well-off. We thought he had a good death on a good Friday," said the cousin.
So, his brothers and son in the UAE asked the family to go ahead with the funeral without delay. By 11.30 am on April 14, he was buried.
Missing gold triggers suspicion
After the funeral, when the grieving family sat down, they spoke of how Gafoor had recently borrowed gold ornaments from them. "But when we searched the house, the ornaments were missing. He has not pledged the gold either. If he needed money, his brothers and son would have known," said the cousin.
Gafoor took jewellery from his sister, niece, daughter-in-law, and daughter Umme Kulsum, who is married to a medical doctor. "In all, around 4,896gm of gold jewellery is missing from the house. Of that, around 2,000gm of jewellery was borrowed from his daughter alone," said the cousin.
Then, the family filed a complaint with the Bekal DySP saying the gold was missing and pointed the finger at the jinn, Saadia* (*name changed).
But later, the family filed another complaint raising suspicion over the death of Gafoor, and an FIR was registered on Monday.
When Gafoor's wife Sharifa had an ailment, they had roped in the jinn to help her. When Gafoor's body was given the ritual washing ahead of the funeral, Saadia's husband was there. "Then we did not have any suspicion, now we have," he said.
They are not from this neighbourhood, the cousin said.
An IUML leader of Poochakkad said the residents were forming an action committee to press the police to investigate the complaint and the jinn's role in the case. He said Saadia called herself 'Jinnumma' and offered solutions to spells of bad things. "Her house is at Mangad, around 12km from Poochakkad but she is influential in our village. Majority of the houses in our village use her service," said the IUML office-bearer.