Kunchithanni (Idukki): Three men surrendered to the police in connection with the murder of their friend and tribesman, whose body was found buried in the forest.
The arrested men, Samji (44), and Jomy (50) of Irupathekkar, and Muthayya (60) of Pothamedu, reportedly told the police that Mahendran (24) of Irupathekkar was accidentally shot dead while hunting with a double-barrel rifle.
The accused claimed that Samji mistook Mahendran for a wild animal and pulled the trigger, killing the youth instantly on June 27. The men buried the body in the forest itself in a bid to cover up the incident.
The surrendered tried to mislead the police by providing false information after Mahendran's family lodged a man-missing complaint. However, the turning point in the case came when CCTV visuals showed Mahendran riding an autorickshaw along with Samji and Jomy on June 27.
The men surrendered to the Rajakkad police on learning of the CCTV footage.
Mahendran's decomposing body with a bullet wound on the chest was exhumed from the forest near Elakkadu on Munnar Pothadu - Ottamaram road on Thursday night. The country-made rifle was also found near the place where the body was buried.
Police said the exact reason for Mahendran's death would be ascertained only after a post-mortem examination. The accused would be produced before a court after collecting evidence.
Bhavani is Mahendran's mother. The late Balachandran and Sneha are his siblings.