Makkiyad (Wayanad): A man's bid to murder his friend, who was suspected to be behind the death of his relative, had inadvertently resulted in the death of three innocents, including a father and son, on October 2. Mananthavady native Santosh, a goldsmith, has been arrested in connection with the case.
The death of three members of a family who died after consuming poison-laced liquor was a case of mistaken identity, the police claimed.
The deceased were identified as Vellamunda native Thignayi (75), his son Pramod (30), and a relative, Prasad (35). Thignayi practised black magic at Kavumkunnu colony near Kochara in Mothakkara.
Santhosh's real target was his friend Sajith Kumar, who had sought Thignayi's services.
Santosh had decided to kill Sajith due to personal enmity. Santosh's brother-in-law had committed suicide two years ago. Local residents say that Sajith was behind his suicide and a diary note accusing him of abetting the suicide was also reportedly found by Santosh.
Execution gone awry
On the day of the triple deaths, Sajith had arrived with the accused, Santosh, at Thignayi's house as the thread ceremony of his daughter was held. It is said that offering liquor and consuming it is part of the ritual and the healer, his wife and children also need to consume liquor.
Earlier, Sajith had asked Santosh to arrange liquor sold by ex-military personnel at their homes as it was a dry day on October 2 and also on the preceding day.The latter took this as an opportunity to eliminate Sajith.
He bought a bottle of liquor, spiked it with cyanide meant for use in the gold shop, and handed it over to his target, Sajith. As Sajith was not aware that the liquor was spiked, he gave it to Thignayi, who unsuspectingly drank it and died.
Local residents say that Thignayi had no enemies in the locality.
After bringing Thignayi's body from the hospital, the deceased's son Pramod took the remaining liquor to the house of his cousin Prasad. There, another relative, Shaju, joined them. They poured the liquor into two glasses and Pramod and Prasad drank first. Immediately after consuming it, Pramod felt that the drink was spiked and alerted the other two -- Prasad and Shaju -- and threw the remaining liquor in one glass. But, Prasad had already consumed the liquor from the other glass. The two developed seizures by then and died soon after. Since their eyes were bulging out, the investigating team had concluded that it was cyanide poisoning.
Shaju was lucky as he couldn't drink.
The police had earlier found that a cyanide-like poisonous substance was laced with the liquor. Since Sajith was not aware that the liquor was laced with poison he has not been named as an accused. Sathosh, who works in a gold-plating unit at Mananthavady, was staying on rent at Vellamunda.
Police are yet to confirm if Santosh got the liquor from either Kuttyaadi or Karnataka.