Kakkanad: Sanu Mohan, a Kochi-based businessman, who was reported missing last month soon after his 13-year-old daughter Vaiga was found dead in a river, was taken into police custody from Karwar in Karnataka on Sunday.
Manorama News reported that he will be brought to Kochi by Sunday night or Monday morning by a team of the Kerala Police.
The Karnataka Police handed him over to the cops from Kerala a little while after he was taken into custody.
From Kollur he had reached Udupi before boarding a bus to Karwar, sources say.
The details of the arrest would be conveyed by the Kerala Police at a press meet on Monday.
His interrogation in the coming days could unravel the mystery behind Vaiga's death and his financial dealings. He could throw light on the suspected role of criminal gangs as is widely believed.
Kollur lead turns successful
The Kerala Police had intensified the search for the 40-year-old with the help of its counterparts in Karnataka soon after it was found out that he had stayed at a hotel in the temple-town of Kollur in Udupi district for six days before fleeing without paying the bill. Lookout notices in four languages were then issued.
Earlier the police had released the CCTV images of Sanu coming to the Kollur hotel and glancing at the newspaper. He was caught even as the local channels in Kollur and Mangaluru were telecasting these images. The police are checking more images.
The major breakthrough in the case came at a time when a move was being made for the Crime Branch to take over the case.
Earlier CCTV images revealed Sanu's car was seen crossing the Walayar border and heading towards Tamil Nadu on March 22. Other CCTV images also showed that Sanu's car had reached till Coimbatore. But it was not clear if Sanu was at the wheel.
The Kochi City police had received information on Friday night that Sanu had stayed at the Kollur hotel. Sanu had strangely used his own Aadhaar card to book the room. The phone number he had given at the hotel was that of a phone he had used earlier and was now dysfunctional.
Sanu did not use his own mobile phone or ATM card. The police identified Sanu from the CCTV images and statements of the eyewitnesses.
Kochi City Police Commissioner C H Nagaraju also had confirmed that Sanu had been at the Kollur hotel in Karnataka till Friday morning.
Sanu and Vaiga stayed at the Sree Gokulam Harmonia flat at Kangarappady in Kochi. He went missing on March 20. Vaiga was found dead in the Muttar River the next day.
Nothing unusual about Sanu's conduct: Hotel staff
Sanu stayed at a private tourist home near the Mookambika Temple at Kollur for six days. Hotel employee Dijo said that Sanu took the room on April 10 and left without paying the bill around 9:30am on April 16.
"Sanu has to pay the room rent of Rs 5,700. I Believed his word that he would pay lump-sum. He did not pay any advance," the staff told Manorama News.
Sanu sat near the reception and read the newspaper around 8:45am on April 16. He then informed the staff that he would be checking out. He also said that he has to catch a flight at 4:45pm and asked for a cab to be arranged for him to go to the Mangaluru airport at 1pm. He then left the hotel, saying that he will return after a visit to the temple, according to the staff.
We did not find anything unusual in Sanu's behaviour, the hotel staff said.
But Sanu did not turn up at 1pm and the staff grew suspicious. They tried calling to his phone. The staff then made enquiries with the help of a few Keralites, and realised that the Kerala Police was on the lookout for this person.
Traces of alcohol in Vaiga’s blood?
Meanwhile, traces of alcohol were reportedly found in Vaiga's blood during a chemical test held at the lab in Kakkanad, sources say. The lab authorities have handed over the findings of the test to the police.
As per the post-mortem report, Vaiga had drowned. By nabbing Sanu, the probe team is hopeful that it would be able to unravel the mystery behind the girl's death.