Kottayam: The prime witness in the sensational Kevin murder case, Anish Sebastian, identified seven accused as the trial began in district court 2 here on Wednesday.
Three, including Kevin’s father-in-law who is the fifth accused, could not be identified. Anish had said he had seen Neenu’s father at the station a day before incident.
He identified first accused Shanu Chacko, Niyaz Mon (accused no. 2), Manu Muralidharan (6), Shefin (7), Nishad (8), Fasil Sherif (11) and Shanu Shajahan (12). He could not identify Vishnu (10) and falsely identified Tintu Gerome (9) for Shinu Nasir (13).
Neenu’s brother Shanu Chacko and 10 others barged into Anish’s home in Mannanam and ransacked the place and beat him and Kevin Joseph before taking them away in separate cars, Anish told the court.
He stuck to an earlier statement that Shanu was heard negotiating with policemen at Gandhinagar station from car. The accused beat him in car and threatened to kill him with a machete. But Anish could not identify the accused who held the machete to his throat.
They were taken in different cars. The accused removed Kevin from the other car and laid him down near Thenmala, Kollam. Not sure what happened to him afterwards, said Anish. The first day’s trial started at 11am and went on till 6pm.
The defendants started cross examination after prosecution’s statement. They cited a statement given at Gandhinagar station saying four men broke down kitchen door, beat the two and abducted them. Anish denied giving such a statement.
He said he could not recollect some details of his statement to police. Defence will continue cross examination on Thursday. The manager of a hotel where accused were learnt to have stayed has been asked to appear before court.
All in white
The accused appeared in court wearing white shirts of the same brand. They had cut their hair and shaved in similar fashion. Some youth who came in similar attires too created confusion. The prosecution argued this was done to stop positive identification in court. Three could not be identified positively because of this similarity in dress. It is also alleged that relatives of the accused brought them the dress.
The court also saw dramatic events as Anish failed to identify accused from witness stand. He was then brought in front of the accused stand. Chacko John was brought up first. But Anish could not identify him despite three chances. The defence protested when prosecutor approached the accused next to Anish. They alleged that policemen had illegally aided their identification. Everyone except court employees were removed following this.
A message sent by Shanu Chacko to the police was also played in court. One seeking Kevin’s custody and ASI TM Biju’s reply promising action was played with a special projector. Anish identified these voice clips.