Kochi: Police have issued a lookout circular against Martin Joseph Pulikkottil, accused of illegally detaining a young woman and subjecting her to brutal assault for more than a year in his flat at Marine Drive here.
The investigation has now gained steam after media reports brought the incident to light, two months after she had lodged a police complaint.
Police have formed a special investigation team for the case. The team split into separate groups and searched several places in Thrissur and Kozhikode for the accused who has been on the run.
Inspector General of Police and Commissioner (Kochi) C H Nagaraju said police have received information that the suspect was in Thrissur, and that he would soon be arrested.
Meanwhile, Joseph has moved a bail application before the High Court, which might hear the case on Tuesday. A prominent criminal lawyer would be appearing for Joseph, hailing from Mundoor in Thrissur.
Meanwhile, the police have come in for severe criticism for their alleged failure in initiating action on the complaint received two months ago.
It was learned that the woman, who had fled Kerala fearing retaliation by Joseph, took refuge at a friend’s place outside the State. After she had filed the police complaint, Joseph issued her threats over the social media, the woman’s friend told Manorama Online.
The woman had been in Joseph’s illegal detention since February 2020. He befriended the woman, who had been working in the modelling sector, offering help in trading equities. He had offered her returns of Rs 40,000 a month.
Believing Joseph, the woman handed him the cash she had kept aside for starting a boutique in Kochi. Later, they became close and started living together. It has been alleged that Joseph had videographed her during their intimate moments.
The woman questioned him after he had failed to keep the promise of the monthly Rs 40,000 returns. Angered, he started to assault her physically. He further harassed the woman, demanding her to marry him.
Though the woman once escaped his clutched and returned to her Kannur residence, he blackmailed her into returning, saying he would otherwise make her nude visuals public through social media.
On her return, he allegedly started to assault her more, by even spraying water mixed with chilli powder into her eyes, and thrashing her with a belt and broom.
Police said a preliminary investigation had revealed that the woman underwent the harassment from February 15, 2020 to March 8, 2021. She escaped from the flat and sought the police’s help when Joseph had gone out to get food.