Kerala man held for killing his partner, daughter in 2011
The alleged murder took place in 2011 and a missing complaint was filed by the deceased’s family, police shut the case for want of evidence
Thiruvananthapuram: Eleven years after a 23-year-old woman and her two-and-a-half-year-old daughter went missing in Kerala’s Thiruvananthapuram district, a special investigation team (SIT) on Tuesday arrested her then live-in partner and his wife for allegedly murdering the duo, officials said.
The prime accused, Manu alias Mahin Kannu, murdered P Vidya and her daughter after the woman forced to marry her. Manu’s wife, Rukiya, assisted him in the crime, the officials added.
While the alleged murder took place in 2011 and a missing complaint was filed by the deceased’s family, police shut the case for want of evidence. It was in 2020 that the matter was handed over to the crime branch after it was taken up as part of efforts to look into unresolved cases.
Last year, a SIT team was formed after senior police officers found several loose ends in the case.
During the course of investigation, the officials said, it was learnt that Kannu was planning to kill Vidya’s parents after they frequently tried to inquire about their daughter and granddaughter. The woman’s mother, Radha C, said her husband died by suicide two years ago after his efforts to locate Vidya and her granddaughter turned futile.
Providing details, deputy superintendent of police K J Johnson, who led the SIT to probe the case, said Vidya and her daughter, Gowri, were residents of Maranelloor in Thiruvananthapuram district. It was in 2008 that Vidya (who was then 20) met Kannu and the duo started living together. Kannu was already married and was a father of two but did not share this information with Vidya.
After Vidya gave birth to her daughter in 2009, Kannu left for the Gulf and cut all ties with Vidya, the official said. In 2011, when he returned to Kerala, Vidya, who was still not aware of his marriage, forced him to marry her.
Kannu was reportedly forced to stay with Vidya in a rented accommodation for six months. The relationship between the two soured after Vidya learnt about his marriage and two children, Johnson said.
On August 17, 2011, Kannu took Vidya and her daughter to a coastal village near Colachel in south Tamil Nadu, on the pretext of visiting Vellankani (a pilgrim spot in Tamil Nadu’s Nagapattinam district) to get married.
On the following day, Kannu allegedly pushed Vidya and her daughter into the sea, Johnson said. Kannu’s wife Rukiya allegedly knew about his plans and helped him to find a spot to kill them, Johnson said.
Two days after the incident, the bodies were washed ashore, onto the Colachel coast in Kanyakumari district. After the bodies remained unidentified, Tamil Nadu police buried them after due formalities.
Meanwhile, the deceased’s family filed a missing complaint at Maranalloor police station. Kannu was picked up for questioning but police failed to get any leads.
The family later alleged that officials at the police station extorted money from them and told them that their daughter and granddaughter were safely residing in an interior village in Tamil Nadu.
Senior police officers later said action will be initiated against two retired officials at Maranalloor police station.
After the SIT took over the case last year and it examined Kannu’s phone, it contacted nearby police stations, including those in Tamil Nadu, to get details of unidentified bodies recovered during the period.
The SIT learnt that two unidentified bodies were found off the coast of Puthukadai, also in Kanyakumari. The team took Radha to Puthukadai police station where she identified her and her granddaughter through photographs of the bodies shared by police.
Radha named Kannu as a suspect.
“Kannu gave us an impression that both were safe and alive. We never thought he would have killed them this way. He should get maximum punishment,” Radha said.
Johnson said Kannu tried to mislead the probe team several times. “He was a tough nut to crack. But we confronted him with evidence and phone call records,” he said.
Kannu initially told police that he dropped Vidya and his daughter back at Balaramapuram, near their house, after taking them to a hospital on August 17, Johnson said.
The accused’s mobile tower location, however, showed he had crossed over to Tamil Nadu, through Kaliyakkavila (a border town), at 10pm that day.
Two days ago, Kannu was taken to the spot where he killed Vidya and her daughter and he re-enacted the crime scene. While he initially said the mother-daughter duo died by suicide, he later confessed to killing her, Johnson said.
“We investigated the case and when he was bombarded with evidences, he confessed to the crime,” the SIT chief said, adding Kannu will be charged with murder and his wife will be booked for conspiracy, among other charges.