Even as the rape and murder of a Dalit law student continued to rock the poll-bound state of Kerala, police on Thursday said they were zeroing-in on the culprits and that the investigation was in its last stage.
Police believe 27-year-old Jisha, whose mutilated body was found by her mother on April 28, was sexually assaulted, as there were injury marks on her private parts.
Speaking to reporters here on Thursday evening, Aluva (rural) Superintendent of Police Yatish Chandra said: “The probe has entered the final stage as the questioning of people in custody is going on and the case will be cracked.”
While the opposition parties in Kerala have been alleging that police have failed to make any headway in the brutal case, senior police officials seem to be certain that the investigation is on the right track.
Director General of Police T.P. Senkumar, who will be reaching here, on Thursday evening said the probe is being conducted by efficient officers, and is progressing well and in the right direction.
So far, six people have been taken into custody, including two migrant labourers.
A group of 30 police officials have been split into four teams to probe the case from different angles, including for collecting and analysing scientific evidences.
Meanwhile, several high-profile individuals visited Jisha’s mother Rajeshwari at a hospital where she has been admitted following the trauma caused by her daughter’s murder.
Among those who visited Rajeshwari were union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Thawaarchand Gehlot and National Women’s Commission chairperson Lalitha Kumaramangalam.
After meeting Rajeshwari, the union minister said he would inform the Rajya Sabha about what he saw. But he refused to elaborate as the Model Code of Conduct is in force now in Kerala.
Kumaramangalam said she would meet top police and government officials to discuss the case.
But these visits have sparked off a massive row, with the ruling party and the opposition parties trading barbs. The hospital authorities have also aired their displeasure, saying the visits have been disturbing Rajeshwari.
In his Facebook post on Thursday, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy alleged that Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leader V.S. Achuthanandan was not honest while expressing his opinion after visiting Rajeshwari a few days back.
“A video clip of the mother complaining to him (Achuthanandan) about the local legislator and the local ward councillor has gone viral, but he came out and blamed the state government. For a few votes, he has done this,” Chandy alleged.
The hospital authorities also complained that the unending stream of visitors has caused more emotional disturbance to Jisha’s mother.
“She has been with us since last Thursday. With lots of people visiting her from Tuesday, she is getting restless as she is yet to come to terms with what has happened,” said a doctor who is treating Rajeshwari.
Ernakulam district collector M.G. Rajamanickam, who has opened a joint bank account in the name of Rajeshwari and himself for those wanting to help Jisha’s family, also slammed the visitors.
In his Facebook post the district collector said the visitors came for publicity and photo-ops.
Meanwhile, the CPI-M on Thursday began a day-and-night sit-in protest near the local police station, demanding the murder mystery be solved without further delay.
CPI-M politburo member Pinarayi Vijayan would meet Jisha’s mother on Friday and address the protestors.
With the political pot boiling over the murder, Kerala Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala accused the opposition of “politicising” the case.
“To politicise this as an election issue is unfair and deplorable. Yesterday, I was waylaid by the CPI-M activists when I came out of the Kollam Press Club,” Chennithala told reporters on Thursday in Kochi.
“You just look into the manner in which numerous cases that have been solved here by our police force. So, we are certain that this case too will be cracked,” the minister added.
Meanwhile, Bharatiya Janata Party president Amit Shah asked Chief Minister Chandy to tell the people as to what’s happening in the case as no action seems to have been taken by police even after a week. Shah was addressing an election rally in Pathanamthitta.
On Wednesday Jisha’s autopsy report was submitted to police which revealed that there were 38 wounds on her body.
Even that has led to a controversy, with complaints that the autopsy was conducted by junior doctors at the Alappuzha Medical College Hospital. It was alleged that no senior police surgeon was present then. The state’s health secretary has now ordered a probe into the allegation.