Sidharthan's death: Will arrests of all accused help CPM to steer away from political turmoil?

Order from CM's office on Thursday to constitute a Special Investigation Team had signalled the police to speed up the arrests. Photo: Manorama

Wayanad: The probe into the mysterious death of Sidharthan (21), a student at the Kerala Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (KVASU) progressed swiftly on Saturday amid the mounting political pressure on CPM and the directions from the Chief Minister's Office to the police. Within a day, the probe team nabbed all the seven remaining accused.  

The investigation was at a slow pace initially as there was extreme political pressure on the team from various levels of the party system to act soft on the accused.  When queried about the delay in the arrests, Kalpetta DySP T N Sajeevan, the investigation officer of the case, had told Onmanorama earlier that though police are on with search operations, the majority of the accused are absconding. Being a principled officer, he was unable to tell that the wings of his team were clipped.  

The postmortem report that revealed the brutal torture meted out to the youth had stirred up a hornet’s nest. Following this, the opposition as well as the BJP launched a protest demanding the resignation of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. On the other hand, CPM was struggling to answer the volley of questions on the alleged presence of torture cells of SFI goons in the KVASU campus that resulted in the suspected suicide of Sidharthan. 

Many experts expressed doubts on the suicide theory citing the extreme torture referred to in the postmortem report. Whether Sidharth had ended his life by himself unable to withstand the extreme torture or he was hanged by some SFI activists in the toilet days after long detention and torture, is yet to be proved.     

However, CPM had no other choice but to wash its hands of the crime and to give a nod for the arrest of all the accused within no time. 

No sooner than the instruction to constitute a special team landed from the CM’s office, the investigation team monitored by Wayanad district police chief  T Narayanan had constituted five teams under DySP T N Sajeevan. Each team was headed by the best-in-class officials drawn in from various stations in the district. 

On a single day on Saturday, police nabbed seven accused from various parts of the state as well as from Bengaluru. The absconding accused who were held on Saturday include K Ajay, 24 from Pathanamthitta, Kollam natives Sinjo Johnson (22), A Althaf  (21), R S Kashinathan (24), Kozhikode native V Adithyan (20) and  Malappuram natives Saud Risal (21) and Muhammed Danish.  

A team headed by Sulthan Bathery Inspector Byju K Jose took Ajay into custody after a tough chase from Bengaluru. Ajay had been shifting hideouts, evading police. Inspector PC Sanjaikumar and his team apprehended Althaf from his relative's house at Kollam. He was reportedly hiding in the houses of his relatives one after another. Sinjo Johnson, Adithyan, Saud Risal and Danish were taken into custody from various hideouts in Kalpetta. Realizing the fact that the party backup was over, Kashinathan surrendered in front of the investigation officer.  Kalpetta Inspector A Sayoojkumar, Vythiri Inspector T Uthamdas and Thalappuzha Inspector S Arun Shah also headed various teams. 

Cyber cell trace mobile phones
From the mobile phones used by the accused, the cyber cell of police traced their locations. Though mobile numbers were changed, the cyber cell tracked the new numbers from the calls to the mobile numbers of kith and kin of the accused. The probe team is expecting to gather more evidence after interrogating all the six accused who were arrested earlier.

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