Kochi: The Customs preventive wing and excise enforcement were planning a joint raid on No 18 Hotel in Fort Kochi when the models were killed a high-speed crash on November 1.
The authorities planned to carry out the raid on November 1 following a tip-off that the hotel had huge quantities of chemical drugs.
The models, Ansi Kabeer and Anjana Shajan, had attended party hosted in the hotel on October 31. The accident occurred while they were heading to Thrissur after the party.
The whereabouts of Saiju Thankachan, who reportedly followed the models in his car before the crash, is still unknown.
Saiju, who has gone into hiding, had frequented the hotel before the party, authorities have learnt. Thankachan had followed the the car involved in the accident, which killed the models instantly near Chakkaraparambu on Vyttila-Edappally stretch of the bypass. Their companion Mohammed Ashique succumbed to injuries a few days later. It was reported that Thankachan had invited the models to an afterparty, which they rejected.
The Customs and Excise departments had raided the hotel a few months ago. The information of the raid, however, was leaked in advance, helping probable drug dealers to escape. Following the botched raid, the authorities were planning a fool-proof operation when the fatal accident occurred.
Incidentally, No 18 figured in the Customs' black list of five hotels, suspected to be part of drug deals.
Saiju Thankachan eludes cops
Meanwhile, investigators were still clueless over the whereabouts of Thankachan, who informed the owner of No 18 about the fatal crash. Hotelier Roy Joseph Vayalat ordered his employees to destroy the CCTV footage after Thankachan informed him about the accident.
Abdul Rehman, who drove the ill-fated car and the only one to escape with injuries, told the police that he had to accelerate since Thankachan tailed them in a menacing manner. Police, too, were suspecting that the models and their companions were trying to shake off the car that followed them.
A representative of a Thrissur local body later told the police that he had noticed an unidentified vehicle following Shajan's car at Kodakara.
It has been alleged that Thankachan was part of Kozhikode-based drug racket involved in smuggling in drugs to Kerala. Police have collected Thakachan's phone calls, suggesting his involvement in drug deals. He has filed a petition seeking anticipatory bail, now under the consideration of the court.
CM to be approached
Meanwhile, the relatives of the deceased models would meet the chief minister soon to press for a thorough probe into the roles of hotelier Vayalat and Thankachan in the fatal accident. They decided to appeal to the chief minister since they felt the current investigation has made scant progress.