Ponnani: Police have arrested one of the key suspects in the case related to the abduction of a woman from Mannar in Kerala's Alappuzha district.
Ponnani native Fahadh, who is suspected to have participated in the abduction, was arrested in the wee hours of Friday. The police have also seizeed the car used for the crime.
Earlier, the police had taken seven people, including four who claimed to have abducted the woman, into their custody.
The four youths, all natives of Paravur in Ernakulam district, had surrendered before police claiming that they were the ones who abducted Bindhu, a 32-year-old Gulf-returnee, from her house in Mannar in the wee hours of Monday. However, the police found out that they had lies and had surrendered before the investigators to divert the direction of the probe as directed by the real culprits.
Of the three others in the police custody, two are from Mannar and one is a native of Thiruvalla in Pathanamthitta district. These three allegedly aided the gang to abduct the woman.
According to Manorama News report, Friday's arrests were made on the basis of the information gathered from the youths in custody.
Bindhu, a native of Kurattikkad in Mannar, was working in a supermarket in the Gulf. She had returned to her native place last week.
She was forcefully taken away from her house by an armed gang, which barged into the house by breaking open the front door, early on Monday morning, only to be abandoned by the wayside in Palakkad district later.
After being released by the kidnappers in Vadakkancherry in northern Palakkad, the woman took an autorickshaw and reached the nearest police station.
Later, Bindhu told reporters that there were four men in the car in which she was abducted, and they had asked her for money.
Bindhu admitted that she had received illegal gold from a person named Haneefa in Dubai. However, when she realized the bag contained a huge amount of gold, she discarded it at the Mali airport as she feared getting caught.
The police are trying to confirm the claims by checking the CCTV footages of Mali and Nedumbassery airports.
Bindu also claimed the kidnappers harmed her in the car and planned to take her to Nelliyampathy in Palakkad. She also identified two of the kidnappers as Harris and Shihab. However, she said she do not know whether the kidnappers had any connection with the gold-smuggling racket.
Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the Customs Department have also registered a case in connection with the incident.
The Customs had visited Bidhu's house and collected evidence. The ED and the Customs are yet to take Bindhu's statement. She is presently admitted to a hospital in Parumala.