Kochi: A Crime Branch team probing the November 1 deaths of two models have taken into custody a vehicle, suspected to have transported the hard disk drive containing the CCTV footage of No 18 Hotel.
Police are also preparing the route map of the vehicle to check whether the statement that the storage device dumped into the Vembanad Lake was a red herring.
A hotel employee had told investigators earlier that the hard disk was tossed into the lake from Kannangattu bridge in Edakochi, as instructed by hotel owner Roy Joseph Vayalat.
The Crime Branch would use the vehicle's trip data, information on hotel employees who had used the vehicle, and location of their mobile phones on the night of the accident, and on the following days to prepare the route map.
Police are also probing whether a device caught in a fisherman's net near the bridge was the hard disk. The fisherman reportedly said that he had discarded the device back in the water.
Investigators are also examining whether the fisherman's story was meant to lend credence to the hotel employee's version that the storage device was dumped into the lake from the bridge. Two teams were now trying to find the hard disk. While a team would continue searching the lake, the other one would proceed under the assumption that the device was not thrown into the lake. Police were pursuing the second possibility after a fresh search in the lake on Wednesday failed to find the disk.
It has been expected that the visuals from the hotel's CCTV cameras stored in the missing disk would shed light into incidents, if any, during the October 31 party, besides helping investigators identify the attendees.
Miss Kerala-2019 winner and runner-up Ansi Kabeer and Anjana Shajan, respectively, were killed when the car they were travelling in smashed against a tree on the road median near Chakkaraparambu on the Vyttila-Edappally stretch of the bypass in the early hours of November 1. They were heading to Shajan's residence in Thrissur from a party at No 18 when the high-speed crash occurred.
Their friend, Mohammed Ashique, died a few days later. Abdul Rahman, who was driving the car, escaped with injuries.