Kochi: Police have registered cases against several people who had attended alleged drug parties along with Saiju Thankachan, who was arrested in connection with the deaths of three people, including two models, in a high-speed car crash.
The Crime Branch has identified 17 people, including seven women, who had attended the parties. They were identified from the visuals in the hidden folders of Thankachan's mobile phone.
The mobile phones of several of those identified were found to be switched off, police said.
The probe into the fatal November 1 crash has now expanded to Kochi's drug deals. Based on the available evidence, police have registered nine cases against Thankachan, who was arrested on November 26 for chasing the models, Ansi Kabeer and Anjana Shajan with a wrongful intent and endangering their lives by rash and negligent driving.
The crash occurred when the models and their companions were trying to escape from Thankachan who chased them from No 18 Hotel, where they all had attended a party on the night of October 31.
While interrogating Thankachen, police have reportedly received information on those smuggling drugs into the State.
Meanwhile, the Excise Department registered a case against No 18 Hotel for serving alcoholic beverages past the 9 pm deadline. Excise Deputy Commissioner KK Anilkumar said they had examined the billing machines and found evidence for selling liquor past the stipulated time, besides CCTV visuals establishing the same.
The hotel's bar licence was earlier suspended for selling liquor past the deadline.
The car in which the models were travelling crashed into a tree on the median near Chakkaraparambu on the Vyttila-Edappally stretch of the bypass around 1.30 am on November 1, killing the young women instantly. Their friend Mohammed Ashique died a few days later, while Abdul Rahman, who was driving, escaped with injuries.
The friends had left the party early to avoid Thankachan, who later chased them in an apparent bid to coax the youngsters to attend an afterparty.