Hidden cams at No 18 Hotel pried on young women eyed by Saiju

The No. 18 Hotel in Kochi, (R) Saiju Thankachan

Kochi: Cameras installed at specific angles in the halls of No 18 Hotel that hosted late-night chemical drug parties captured images of young women attendees, suspected drug-dealer Saiju M Thankachan, arrested in connection with the November 1 deaths of two models in a high-speed car crash, reportedly told investigators.

The visuals thus recorded were used to blackmail the women, who attended these parties without the knowledge of their families. It is suspected that the women were blackmailed in order to draft them into drug dealings.

The Crime Branch team, probing the fatal accident and the chain of events that preceded the crash, found such visuals saved in Saiju's mobile phone. The visuals, investigators found, were clandestinely recorded by Roy Joseph Vayalat, the hotel owner, and Saiju, hailing from Nallila in Kollam district.

Saiju used to host drug parties at his flat in Kakkanad. He allegedly chased the models, Ansi Kabeer and Anjana Shajan, to coax them into attending such a party at his residence. However, as the women refused the invite, Saiju waited at a juice shop next to the hotel with the intention of not missing the models' car.

The models and their two male companions were trying to flee Saiju when their car swerved off the road and crashed into a tree on the median near Chakkaraparambu around 1.30am on November 1. The models were killed instantly, while their friend, Mohammed Ashique, died a few days later. The four had attended a party at No 18, and apparently left early to avoid Saiju.

Roy and Saiju had plans to hold a drug-involved afterparty at the hotel itself, and they allegedly served spiked alcohol to Ashique and Abdul Rahman, who accompanied the models.

Investigators have found evidence of Saiju speaking to Roy over the phone while waiting for the models, before the high-speed car chase that killed three, and injured Rahman and a two-wheeler rider.

Meanwhile, police hinted that another young woman, who backed Saiju and Roy on social media, was a regular at drug parties. Investigators have found the visuals of the woman attending such parties in Saiju's phone. Police said she would be interrogated soon.

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