Ernakulam: The Kerala Police team probing the death of Kochi teen Vaiga has found contradictions in the statements of her father Sanu Mohan, who had confessed to the murder immediately after his arrest on Monday.
Kochi City Police Commissioner H Nagaraju said on Monday that Mohan has been repeatedly changing his versions.
“Prima facie evidence suggests that Sanu Mohan had killed Vaiga and no one else was involved in the murder. Further investigation will reveal his modus operandi,” Nagaraju said.
Mohan was taken into custody from Karwar in Karnataka on Sunday, 27 days after he had gone missing from the city. Earlier, only a man-missing case was registered against him. His arrest was recorded on Monday after adding more sections to the girl’s death case.
Mohan told the probe team that he had planned to commit suicide, but the thought that Vaiga would be left alone after his death had forced him to kill the teenager first. So he threw the girl in to Muttar River, but he lost the courage to kill himself after that and fled Kerala. Police, however, found contradictions in his statement, and have decided to interrogate him further.
Nagaraju said Mohan claimed to have decided to kill himself due to severe financial issues.
“He claimed that he didn't want to leave his daughter behind when he died and that prompted him to kill her. The man also claimed to have attempted suicide several times after leaving Vaiga in the river. Mohan said he tried to slash his wrist and made a bid to jump in front of a moving train, but backed off scared. We are probing why he did not surrender even after repeated suicide failures,” the Commissioner said.
Nagaraju said Mohad had made a deliberate attempt to destroy evidence of his whereabouts. “He tried not to leave any sort of digital trail. So tracking him was the major challenge,” he said.
The preliminary post-mortem examination reported drowning as the cause of the girl’s death. No injuries or signs of assault were found. A forensic visceral examination later found alcohol content in the girl’s body. Nagaraju said further investigation is needed to find the source of it.
Police trying to plug loopholes
Police suspect that Mohan has not revealed the complete truth. He told investigators that he threw Vaiga into the River Muttar on the belief that she had died. He also said he had told his daughter of his plan after returning from Ambalappuzha to their flat in Kangarappady.
Circumstantial evidence and deposition of the witnesses, however, to some extent supported Mohan’s statement about what had happened in the flat at Sree Gokulam Harmonia on March 21 night.
“I told her we are going to die. When she started crying I suffocated her by holding her tight to me. When she started bleeding through her nose, I thought she had died. I took her in the car to the river and dropped her into the water,” Mohan reportedly told investigators.
Mohan had on March 21 dropped his wife off at a relative’s place at Ambalappuzha before returning to Kangarappady with Vaiga, aged 13, according to police records.
After the girl’s body was found on March 22, police, fire and rescue personnel and local residents had searched the river and several waterbodies in the neighbourhood, suspecting that the man had ended his life.
A security guard at the flat had told the police earlier that he had seen Mohan carrying Vaiga, wrapped in a blanket, to the car. The guard’s statement supported Mohan’s version. Though Mohan said he had held Vaiga tight and her nose started bleeding, the inquest and post-mortem examination did not find any use of force on Vaiga’s body. The autopsy pointed at drowning as the cause of death.
Additionally, police had not found any signs indicating the use of force in Mohan’s flat, which also made investigators view the man’s version with suspicion.
Mohan had stopped using his personal mobile phone a few days before disappearing on March 21. He was using his wife’s phone. However, when detained at Karwar, he was carrying another phone, which made the police suspect that the entire episode was pre-planned.
The man was reportedly in Bengaluru when he came to know that Vaiga was alive while she was dropped into the river. Police are trying to find why he still remained elusive.
Mohan told the police he reached Coimbatore from Bengaluru and sold his car for Rs 50,000. The proceeds from the car sale had been meeting his expenses in Goa and Mangaluru. On realizing that he had been recognized, he tried to flee Mangaluru to Goa, but was detained at Karwar.
Mohan’s claim that he was under severe financial debt, too, is under a cloud of suspicion. According to cases registered against him in Pune, he had fled that city five years ago with Rs 11.5 crore.
The mystery trail
March 21, morning: Sanu Mohan, wife and daughter Vaiga leave their flat at Kangarappady, Kakkanad. The man drops his wife off at her relative’s place at Ambalappuzha in Alappuzha.
7pm: Mohan and Vaiga leave the relatives place, saying they would return after visiting another kin.
9:10pm: Vaiga and Mohan reach their flat at Kangarappady.
9:30pm: He leaves the flat with his daughter.
9:45pm: Mohan makes a courtesy call to his father-in-law.
12 midnight: Mohan and Vaiga fail to reach the relative’s house. The relatives of his wife launch a search and learn that they had not reached the kin’s residence. They search the Kanagarappady flat in vain.
March 22, 8:30am: Relatives approach the Thrikkaraka police, saying both Mohan and Vaiga were missing. The girl’s body was found in the River Muttar at Kakkanad around noon. Police search for Mohan, based on a suspicion that he, too, had drowned.
March 25: Police start suspecting Mohan. They receive information that the man had financial dealings in Pune, and he was facing charges there.
March 26: CCTV visuals show Mohan’s car proceeding to and reaching Coimbatore. However, it was not clear whether he was in the vehicle.
April 10: Mohan checks into a lodge at Kollur.
April 16, 8:45am: Mohan leaves the lodge without settling the bills.
9:30am: He boards a bus plying the Kundapura-Udupi route, and alights at a forested area. He later takes another bus to Udupi.
April 16-17: He travels to Karwar from Udupi.
April 18: Police detain Mohan at Karwar.
April 19: Mohan confesses to throwing Vaiga into the River Muttar. His arrest was recorded.