Pathanamthitta: A CBI team has camped at Pathanamthitta and started investigations into the death of 41-year-old P P Mathai, a native of Kudappana in Chittar, allegedly in the custody of forest department officials.
The five-member team has set up its base at the PWD rest house. It is headed by DySP Ranbir Singh Shekhawat.
The probe team recorded the statements of locals and traders in Chittar and Kudappana.
The investigation is now focussing on two acquaintances of Mathai. It is learned that the two have been absconding since Onam eve. The CBI team looking for them searched the houses near the Kavanal Estate in Chittar.
The CBI has found that the two had been in constant contact over the phone on the day Mathai was taken into custody by forest department officials and also in the days that followed. The agency is primarily investigating if a conspiracy between them led to the death of Mathai.
One of the absconding persons was with the forest department team when Mathai was taken into custody.
Meanwhile, Mathai's re-postmortem report has been handed over to the CBI. A delay in getting the lab report had delayed the delivery of the postmortem report.
Mathai was found dead in a well near his house on July 28 a few hours after he was taken into custody by the forest department team for allegedly damaging a camera installed by the department. Two forest officers were placed under suspension following a departmental inquiry into his death.
The preliminary post-mortem report had said that Mathai had died of drowning. But, the family alleged his death was caused in the custody of forest officials.
In August, the Kerala High Court directed a CBI inquiry into the case.