CBI to take over probe into violinist Balabhaskar's death

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Thiruvananthapuram: The investigation into the death of violinist Balabhaskar will be taken over by Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). The violinist parents had called for a CBI probe saying they were not satisfied with the probe conducted by the Crime Branch.

Balabhaskar's father, K C Unni, had met Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on August 28 this year and had submitted a memorandum seeking a CBI probe into his son's death. The father's contention was that there was a conspiracy behind the death of his violinist son. Unni was disappointed that the Crime Branch saw his son's death as a mere accident.

Unni was especially suspicious of the statement made by Arjun, the driver of of the car in which Balabhaskar and family travelled. Arjun had told the police that it was Balabhaskar who was at the wheel when the accident happened. This was contradicted by Balabhaskar's wife Lakshmi who was also in the car.

Forensic examination had later revealed that Arjun himself was at the wheel when the accident happened, and that Balabhaskar was at the back with his daughter. The Crime Branch but did not attach much significance to Arjun's lies. It said Arjun was simply trying to save himself by telling a lie. Those close to Balabhaskar but point out that Arjun's family had an Ayurveda business in which Balabhaskar had invested heavily.

Balabhaskar's parents had also questioned the role of Prakashan Thampi and Vishnu Somasudnaram, Balabhaskar's friends and close associates. Both of them were later arrested by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) in gold smuggling cases.

Thampi was the programme coordinator of Balabhaskar's shows. He was also the last person to call Balabhaskar before his car met with the accident. Vishnu was the violinist's finance manager. Vishnu had told the DRI that he had resorted to smuggling when money was hard to come by after Balabhaskar's death.

CBI to take over probe into violinist Balabhaskar death
Balabhaskar with wife Lakshmi and their daughter Tejaswini Bala.

There was yet another turn in the case that strengthened the case of Balabhaskar's parents. Stage artiste Kalabhavan Soby had revealed that he saw certain persons lurking around suspiciously at the scene of the accident when he was passing that way. The DRI had shown Soby pictures of 35 suspects and he is said to have identified one of them.

The Crime Branch still did not find it worthwhile to pursue the possible link of gold smugglers to the death of Balabhaskar. It ruled out a conspiracy and said overspeeding alone had caused the accident.

An official order on the CBI take over was issued by the State Government on December 9. The CBI is expected to take over the case in a week.

Balabhaskar, 40, was travelling with his wife and two-year-old daughter from Thrissur to the state capital, when their car met with an accident in the wee hours of September 25, 2018, on the outskirts of Thiruvananthapuram. While the daughter died on the spot, Balabhaskar passed away on October 2. His wife and driver survived with injuries.