The death of Malayalam-Tamil actor Kalabhawan Mani turned murkier on Friday after traces of pesticide and methanol were found in the viscera report. The police detained three associates of the actor for questioning even as his family members and cine organisations sought a high-level probe into his death.
The popular actor, who acted in more than 200 south-Indian films, died of cirrhosis at the age of 45 on March 6 in a private hospital in Kochi. The police later filed a case of unnatural death after the doctors expressed doubts and sent his body for post-mortem.
According to the viscera report, a chemical substance called Chlorpyrifos, normally used in pesticides, and traces of methanol were found in his internal organs. Mani allegedly consumed liquor in the company of some of his friends in his outhouse in Chalakudy (Thrissur district) before falling ill and being taken to the hospital.
“There is some foul play. We suspect all who were with him the day before he died. If all had consumed some adulterated liquor why did only Mani die,” asked his brother RLV Ramakrishnan. His widow, Nimmi, said she never knew her husband had any serious liver ailment. Actor and Lok Sabha MP Innocent has also sought a probe to unravel the mystery. “There are many unanswered questions. If any foul play is found, culprits should be booked,” he said.
The actor’s family members said the premises, where he had his alleged drinking session, were cleaned by his associates. Excise officials who inspected his outhouse also claimed that samples of liquor were removed from the site. State home minister Ramesh Cheniithala said all revelations in the case will be probed.
Earlier the police said they suspect a serious liver ailment along with binge liquor consumption could have led to Mani’s death. They said they would take a fresh look at the case and question everyone including his friends and family members. Two of his friends who visited the actor a day before he died were summoned for questioning.