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Wednesday, Nov 13, 2019

Kerala cyanide killings: Cops head to Coimbatore on the poison trail

All six suspected killings took place in a small Kerala village. The lid of the suspected serial killings was blown after Rojo Thomas--based in the U.S.-- lodged a case with the police when both his parents and his brother died in suspiciously similar circumstances over a span of nine years.

india Updated: Oct 16, 2019 23:06 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent, Thiruvananthapuram
All six suspected killings took place in Koodathayi, a small village in Kozhikkode district in north Kerala
All six suspected killings took place in Koodathayi, a small village in Kozhikkode district in north Kerala(HT Photo)
         

The special investigation team (SIT) probing Kerala’s sensational suspected cyanide killings case has obtained three additional days of custody of the three accused including the prime suspect Jolly Joseph, the alleged mastermind of six mysterious deaths in her family over a span of 17-years.

The police said it plans to take Jolly and others to Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu as it suspected the city to be the source of the deadly potassium cyanide used to poison at least one of the six victims.

Jolly, according to the police, had made several trips to Coimbatore recently and it was possible that the third accused, Praju Kumar, had procured potassium cyanide from there.

Reports suggesting Jolly was planning her third marriage with a friend named Jhonson have added another twist to the case. Jhonson’s wife had complaint to the police that her husband used to torture her because of his extra-marital relationship with Jolly.

All six suspected killings took place in Koodathayi, a small village in Kozhikkode district in north Kerala. The lid of the suspected serial killings was blown after Rojo Thomas--based in the U.S.-- lodged a case with the police when both his parents and his brother died in suspiciously similar circumstances over a span of nine years. After two-month-long investigation, the SIT exhumed bodies of all the dead members of the family and arrested Rojo’s sister-in-law and two others on October 6. It was also revealed that the autopsy done on Rojo’s brother’s body in 2011 had revealed traces of cyanide in his stomach.

Rojo’s mother Anamma Thomas was the first to die in 2002; his father Tom Thomas was allegedly killed in 2008, his brother Roy Thomas in 2011 and his maternal uncle Mathew Manjadiyil in 2014. Two years later, another relative, Cily, and her one-year-old child died under similarly mysterious circumstances. The only person to be present at the time of all the deaths was Jolly.

Rojo returned to Kerala two days ago following police summons and was present with his sister when police questioned Jolly.

He said Jolly had forced him to withdraw the police complaint he had filed and promised to settle property dispute. Rojo said he had also filed a civil suit against Jolly for allegedly fudging property documents owned by his late father.

“When I gave the complaint I never expected it will take such a turn. Some of the revelations are really shocking. I am relieved that law finally caught those behind such heinous crimes,” Rojo said.

The SIT also questioned her second husband Shaju Scaria and father Scaria for the second consecutive day. Jolly had told police that Shaju was aware of the plot to kill his first wife Cily and the child.