Kochi: A dispute over a drug deal is likely behind the murder of a 22-year-old youth near Infopark here, City Police Commissioner Nagaraju Chakilam said.
The youth has been identified as Sanjeev Krishnan, a native of Malappuram.
The prime suspect Arshad is a roommate of the victim. He was nabbed in Kasaragod on Wednesday.
He and a friend were caught near the Manjeshwar railway station while attempting to flee to Karnataka.
Drugs were also seized from them.
The investigation team got information that Arshad had fled to Kasaragod based on his mobile phone location.
Arshad has been missing since Sanjeev's murder came to light the day before (Tuesday).
It is believed that both Sanjeev and Arshad are drug users. Though no drugs were found in the flat, there were suspicious signs, the commissioner said.
Arshad is also an accused in a theft case in Kondotty, Malappuram.
The incident came to light when the duo's other roommates returned home after a short trip to Kodaikanal.
On finding their apartment locked, they tried calling Sanjeev and Arshad, but to no avail.
While Sanjeev's phone went unanswered, Arshad texted back saying that he was out of town.
They then sought the assistance of the flat's caretaker. It was then that they found Sajeev's body.
Wrapped in a bedsheet and blanket, it was found shoved into a garbage duct on the balcony of the apartment.
The victim had more than twenty injuries on his face and body. The preliminary report states that the cause of death is deep wounds on the face, neck and chest.
Sanjeev, Arshad and four others lived on the 16th floor of Oxoniya Infocity apartments in Kakkanad's Edachira.
Sajeev's roommate Ajmad told Manorama News that Arshad was the childhood friend of another roommate. Apparently, he came to stay with them only two weeks ago.
It was on Ajmad's scooter that Arshad fled to Kasaragod.
According to the police, the murder took place two days ago (Monday).
However, relatives and friends of Sanjeev said that they had received texts from him even after the murder took place.
It is believed that Arshad sent these text mistakes to give the impression that nothing untoward had happened.
Police is also investigating if anyone else helped Arshad in the murder and in hiding the body.
Meanwhile, Arshad's father P K Razaq said his son had left home two months ago.
Even though he asked his mother for Rs 500 to return home, Arshad never came back, Razaq said.
He said he would cooperate with the police investigation.
No CCTVs were installed on the flat premises despite instructions given by the police.
The flat association has also not taken efforts to make a record of unknown persons who visit the flat, the commissioner pointed out.
It is known that there were problems at the flat where the murder happened. Even then, the residents association failed to respond.
They did not inform the police about any of this. Had the instructions been followed, it would have greatly assisted the investigation, the commissioner added.
But even then, the police managed to nab the prime suspect within 24 hours of the crime coming to light.