Thiruvananthapuram: The death of noted musician Balabhaskar has once again come into focus after his former programme manager was arrested in connection with the case of gold smuggling via Thiruvananthapuram airport.
The Crime Branch has collected information from the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) officials who are probing the gold smuggling case. The Crime Branch would also question driver Arjun who was with Balabhaskar at the time of the accident. Statements of relatives and witnesses would also be taken again.
The Crime Branch officers told Manorama Online that they are probing if Balabhaskar had any financial dealing with his former manager Prakash Thamby who was recently arrested over gold smuggling. He was the manager of Balabhasker's musical programmes.
Prakash, who was running a canteen at a private hospital in Thiruvananthapuram, had met Balabhaskar there.
Friend too under the scanner
The role of Balabhaskar's long-time friend Vishnu is also under the scanner. Vishnu had appointed his acquaintance Arjun as Balabhaskar's car driver.
There was no clarity on whether it was Arjun or Balabhaskar who was driving the car at the time of the accident. Results of the scientific tests conducted to ascertain this are awaited. The driver had also sustained minor injuries in the accident.
Vishnu reportedly handled Balabhaskar's financial matters and frequently made foreign trips. The DRI has handed over this information to the Crime Branch.
Balabhaskar's father Unni said that the duo who frequented their house stopped coming after Balabhaskar's death. Nor did they even contact over the phone. They apparently know more about Balabhaskar's financial dealings than his relatives.
The role of Palakkad doctor
Relatives also raised doubts about a financial dealing with a doctor in Palakkad. The musician had given a huge amount of money to the doctor and later demanded it back, the relatives said.
The accident happened during this time. The money was handed over through Vishnu and the Palakkad doctor had foreign links, the kin alleged.
Just before the accident, Balabhaskar received calls asking about his location, they claimed. One witness had also informed the kin that someone had wiped out the blood stains from the front part of the car. Balabhaskar's father said that the family had informed all the puzzling points to the probe officers and that he was satisfied with the investigations.
Wife refutes charges
Meanwhile, Balabhaskar's wife Lakshmi has refuted allegations that the noted musician had any links with those accused in the gold smuggling case. She also dismissed reports that Vishnu and Prakash were Balabhaskar's managers. “They merely co-ordinated some of the programmes and that they were paid for this. Apart from this, they were not part of any official matters," Lakshmi said.
Balabhaskar's car had met with an accident at Pallipuram in Thiruvananthapuram on September 25, 2018. Balabhaskar along with his wife and daughter were on their way back home after visiting a temple, when the vehicle rammed a tree. Their two-year-old daughter Tejaswini Bala was killed on the spot, while Balabhaskar later died at the hospital. Lakshmi had to undergo a lengthy treatment procedure before she fully recovered.
The case, which was first probed by Mangalapuram police, was later handed over to Attingal DySP. The cops were not able to find any foul play in the accident. However, after Balabhaskar's father complained, the case was taken over by the Crime Branch.
His father told Manorama Online that he did not give any new complaint to the Crime Brach regarding the gold smuggling and that he has only informed the officers about his doubts. The Crime Branch is still probing the initial complaint made by Balabhaskar’s father.
The DRI sleuths had seized 25kg of gold and arrested KSRTC conductor Sunilkumar, 45, of Thirumala and Kazhakoottam native Sareena, 42, on May 13. They had arrived at the Thiruvananthapuram airport from Muscat in an Oman Airways flight. A probe led the officials to Biju and his accomplices Prakash and Vishnu.