Kottayam: The Kerala Police on Thursday arrested Kottayam Thazhathangadi native Muhammed Bilal in connection with the murder of the 55-year-old housewife in Kottayam.
Bilal was taken into custody in Ernakulam on Wednesday and questioned at a secret location.
The youth killed the woman and assaulted her husband during a burglary attempt at the house. The accused first attacked the husband. Gold ornaments of the victim was stolen after the burglary.
The accused switched on the gas cyclinder after the crime to destroy evidence, Kottayam SP said.
The youth was closely associated with the victim and family. His family used to live in Chengalam of Kottayam district. He had been convicted for several crimes as a juvenile.
The police has also recovered a used chewing gum from the site of murder. The investigating officers are hoping to match the DNA in the gum with that of the accused.
The CCTV cameras installed at a petrol station in Chengalam had captured him fleeing with the victim's car, according to the report. Police are reportedly questioning the accused at a secret location to learn if more people are involved in the murder.
Sheeba was found dead near the front door of her roadside house, Shaani Manzil, at Parappadath in Thazhathangadi on Monday morning. Her husband, Mohammad Salih, 60, too was found lying unconscious near the body with assault wounds.
Their Wagon-R car was stolen after the attack, the police said. Sheeba’s relatives said her gold ornaments were also missing.
The police had earlier found CCTV footage showing him driving to Vechoor via Kumarakom. Video footage obtained from a petrol pump showing the culprit driving in the stolen car became the crucial turning point in the police investigation.
A power failure in the region foiled the plan to electrocute the couple. Though cooking gas was also leaked, it could not be lit.
According to the post mortem report, Sheeba died of head injuries. There were injuries on either side of her head.
Salih, who ran a tea shop at the Nagambadam bus stand, was admitted to the Kottayam Medical College, where he was operated upon on Monday night.
The police found broken chairs and a teapoy in the house. The couple were likely attacked with the teapoy, causing injuries to their heads, they said. The police said the glass top of a table in the hall was also found broken and that it could hold clues about the attacker.
The couple is said to have had financial dealings with several people.
Neighbours said they did not hear any unusual sounds on the day of the crime. The police are hoping for the recovery of Salih, who could provide details of the attacker.
Husband in critical condition
Salih continues to be in critical condition at the Kottayam Medical College Hospital. He is currently, on ventilator support. He underwent a six-hour-long brain surgery on Monday.
The couple's daughter is expected to reach Thiruvananthapuram on Thursday with her husband and children.