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Wednesday, Oct 23, 2019

Kerala cyanide killings case: Accomplice says Jolly sought cyanide to kill rats

In one of the high points of the day, one of the co-accused Praju Kumar claimed he was innocent and had only supplied “little quantity” of cyanide to Jolly so that she could kill “big rats” in her house. Six members in Jolly’s family have died mysteriously over several years.

india Updated: Oct 10, 2019 19:52 IST
Snigdha Poonam & Ramesh Babu
Snigdha Poonam & Ramesh Babu
Hindustan Times, Kozhikkode/Thiruvananthapuram
Jolly Joseph suspected to have plotted and murdered six of her family members with cyanide-laced food over the years was sent to police custody on Thursday
Jolly Joseph suspected to have plotted and murdered six of her family members with cyanide-laced food over the years was sent to police custody on Thursday(Representative Photo)
         

The proceedings in one of the most sensational cases of suspected cyanide serial killings in recent memory were marked by the prime suspect Jolly Joseph (47) and two of her accomplices being sent to six-day police custody amid protests and booing by a crowd gathered outside a local Kozhikkode court, over 350 kms from state capital Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala on Thursday.

In one of the high points of the day, one of the co-accused Praju Kumar claimed he was innocent and had only supplied “little quantity” of cyanide to Jolly so that she could kill “big rats” in her house. In another development worth taking note, the prime suspect Jolly Joseph’s case was finally taken up by senior criminal lawyer B A Aloor after most lawyers had refused it.

Jolly appeared in the court wearing the same dress- black kurta pyjama with a pink dupatta—that she was wearing when arrested last Saturday. A woman head constable who escorted her said it was because none of Jolly’s family members had shown up with fresh clothes.

“Usually relatives bring dress for remand prisoners,” she said reflecting the reality of Jolly’s family’s decision to dump her. Her parents and other relatives had announced earlier that they won’t extend any legal help to her.

“She brought enough shame to the family. We will not give any help to her. If she is innocent let her come out clean on her own. We have disowned her and we will fully co-operate with the ongoing investigation,” said her father K Joseph, who is a farmer settled in Kattapana in Idukki district of the state.

Of all the three accused in the case, only Praju Kumar spoke to media while being escorted out of the court.

“I was trapped. I have no knowledge about these killings. She sought little quantity of cyanide to kill big rats in her house,” he said, while another accused Mathew remained mum.

Though six alleged cyanide killings have taken place, the SIT has filed only a single FIR against Jolly and two of her accomplices in the case of her first husband Roy Thomas’s death in 2011. Roy’s autopsy report had confirmed traces of potassium cyanide in the undigested food. Jolly is believed to have opposed the post-mortem then and later concealed the report while giving out an impression that her husband’s death was a case of suicide. On last Friday the police had exhumed six bodies on a complaint filed by Roy’s brother and arrested the three a day after on Saturday.

Charges related to other five cases of suspected murders in Jolly’s family will be added only after forensic evidence is obtained, the officer in charge of investigation had earlier said. The SIT team of 10 officers has been expanded to 25 to expedite the investigations in each case.

“We have formed six teams to investigate each case separately. Former forensic expert of the AIIMs in Delhi, P V Dogra, has promised his help to me and we will use the services of the best labs in the world,” said state director general of police Loknath Behra.

First Published: Oct 10, 2019 19:51 IST

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