Kevin’s body was lying face down in river: Witness in court

Kottayam youth - who fell victim to honour killing.

Kottayam: As the trial in the sensational case progresses at a local court here, the number of hostile witnesses in the case has risen to six.

Witness no. 102 who identified himself as 'A. Indian' turned hostile during the trial on Friday. Indian is a neighbour of accused no: 11 Fasil Sherif. He denied telling investigators earlier that he saw the police recover a mobile phone from Fasil’s house.

A couple of days ago two other witnesses had turned hostile. The witnesses Sulaiman and Alan changed their statements during the trial on Wednesday. The former is the neighbour of the eighth accused Nishad, whereas the latter is an employee at a petrol pump in Kottayam where the accused had halted on the day of the incident. Sulaiman had initially stated that he witnessed Nishad's phone being handed over to the police during evidence collection. Alan had testified that he heard the accused converse amongst themselves when they stopped at the Nellippally petrol pump.

Witness who found body

Kevin’s body was lying face down in Chaliyakkara River, social worker Reji John told court. It was Reji, witness no 41, who alerted the police of the body in water. He positively identified in court the dress found on the body that day.

Bank officers, meanwhile, identified documents that showed prime accused Sanu Chacko used his NRI account ATM card to fill petrol in four cars on the same and following day of Kevin’s murder. These petrol bunks are situated at Punaloor and Adoor, several kilometres south of Kottayam town from where Kevin was abducted in the wee hours of the fateful day, May 27 2018.

SBI Peroorkada branch assistant manager Krishnachandran represented the bank in the court on Friday.

One Chandrasekhara Pillai said he saw police find a phone from accused no 9 and his neighbour Tittu Jerome.

However, he could not identify Tittu from the line of accused paraded in court.

Personal belongings like ID cards, watches, wallets and money recovered from the accused as they were taken into custody were positively identified by policemen Sreerangan, Roy, Padmakumar and TV Jacob who were on duty that day.

Kevin P Joseph, a 23-year-old Dalit Christian youth, was brutally killed by a gang led by Sanu, the eldest brother of his fiancee Neenu.He had earned the wrath of his Neenu's family for going ahead with plans to marry her despite objection by her parents and brother.

The Kevin murder trial which began in February is expected to be completed in six months as it comes under the category of honour killing.