Thodupuzha: The main accused in the brutal attack on a seven-year-old boy in Thodupuzha in Kerala's Idukki district would have escaped if he had correctly mentioned the name of the victim at a hospital where he was rushed with a severe injury. The police was alerted by the hospital authorities as they suspected some foul play after the assailant Arun Anand (36) and the boy's mother, who is his live-in partner, gave different versions of the incident.
The boy, a class 2 student at a school at Kumaramangalam near Thodupuzha, is battling for life on ventilator in the intensive care unit (ICU) of Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church Medical College Hospital at Kolenchery in Ernakulam district. He has a crack on his skull and over 20 old and new injury marks on his body.
It was just a simple question from the police which trapped Arun, a native of Nanthancode in Thiruvananthapuram. When the police asked him what was the child's name, he replied that the boy was called Appu at home and that he didn't remember his real name. Arun even told that he would enquire the boys' real name from the mother and the let them know. The accused was in a drunken state when he rushed the child to the hospital.
Arun and the child's mother had told the hospital authorities that they were his parents. The mother stated that the kid had fallen from bed while Arun claimed that the kid had an accident while playing. These contradictory statements had prompted the hospital authorities to inform the police.
The police had noticed marks on the mother's cheeks which indicated that she too may have been assaulted. This along with Arun's reply when he was asked the kid's name intensified the police's suspicions. The security officials at the hospital informed the police that Arun didn't accompany the mother and child inside the hospital; instead, he sat in his car smoking a cigarette. When bombarded with questions, the child's mother reacted harshly which added to the cops' suspicion.
Meanwhile, the child's condition became critical and was referred to the Kolencherry medical college. Though the mother got into the ambulance, Arun refused to accompany them. This led to a heated argument between him and the cops. One of the policemen had forcefully removed the key from Arun's car and asked him go in the ambulance along with the woman.
The cops said that the accused had planned to escape with the kids' mother after the ambulance with the severely injured boy left the hospital premise.
Horror house and brother's admission
The police had then reached their house at Kumaramangalam. The main door wasn't locked and they found drops of blood on the floor and the walls. The Thodupuzha cops alerted the Puthencruz police station and assigned two policemen to track Arun in the medical college.
Meanwhile the victims' four-year-old brother had narrated the whole incident to the Child Welfare Committee. Following this, Arun was taken into custody. The police found 9 bank pass books, an alcohol bottle and weapons from Arun's car.
The two boys had suffered cruel assault at the hands of their mother's partner at their rented house at Kumaramangalam. The police found blood stains on the walls in the lower storey hall of the house. It was only a month ago that Arun and the woman had moved into the lower floor of the house along with the kids. They stayed aloof from the couple who stayed upstairs and the neighbours as well.
The police say that Arun used to hit the kids across their faces and kick them. He used to assault the children even with an iron rod that he kept at the house. The handle of this rod is broken. He addressed the kids as rascals. It was the elder boy who suffered beatings most of the time. Arun would burn the kids' bodies with cigarette butts and made them do household chores. Whenever the mother tried to stop Arun from hurting her kids, he would slap and kick her as well.
Arun would leave the house with the woman for late-night dinners, after putting the children to sleep and would return only in the wee hours. It is the woman who usually drives the car. Around a month ago, Arun along with the woman and kids had reached a way-side watery at Mangattu Junction. While having food, he verbally abused the children and almost hit them. But they left immediately when the people in the locality gathered.
Similarly, about one and half months ago, Arun was seen abusing someone over the phone while he was standing in front of a shopping complex with the elder child. When other people intervened, a woman came to them driving a car. Arun hit hard on the car door twice before pushing the kid inside. Witnesses say that he slapped the woman and kept his legs on the steering wheel. The woman sped the car away as people began to gather around the vehicle. Many people have witnessed Arun assaulting the woman at their house and even in public places. He had apparently asked her to leave the boys at an orphanage or to enrol them in a boarding school.
Arun seemed calm even after he was taken into the custody by the police. He sat unperturbed on the prison cell's floor and obeyed the officers' instructions. He ate without protest when the cops gave him food. Initially, while being interrogated, Arun kept saying that the he couldn't remember anything, to all the questions asked by the police. But when the cops grilled him with more complex questions, Arun confessed everything. He confessed that he had assaulted the kids even before.
The investigation is carried out by a team headed by DySP KP Jose and CI Abhilash David.
Links to goons
Arun's parents were bank employees and his brother is in the army. He completed his school education from the Kendriya Vidyalaya. Though he secured private registration for graduation, he soon dropped out of the course. Arun got his father's job as the latter died while in service. But he quit that job after a year. Later he joined hands with a dreaded goon and began smuggling sand. He also became part of drug trafficking.
Among the criminal circle Arun was known as the 'cobra'. The police say that Arun is a severe alcoholic and a drug addict. He was previously booked in 7 cases including a murder case. The police are enquiring whether more cases are registered against him in other districts.