Kozhikode: The woman accused of killing her husband and five others in the family in Koodathayi has received an offer from an advocate with a reputation for appearing for accused in sensational cases. B A Aloor said that he had visited Jolly Joseph in the Kozhikode district jail and agreed to represent her in court.
Aloor told Manorama Online that Jolly Joseph, who was arrested in connection the death of her husband following consumption of cyanide-laced food, would sign vakalatnama on Thursday.
A court in Thamarasseri is scheduled to hear a petition from the Crime Branch seeking custody of Jolly and co-accused Praju Kumar, a goldsmith suspected to have provided cyanide to Jolly, on Thursday.
Advocates practising at Thamarassery had refused to represent Jolly Joseph and Praju Kumar given the shocking nature of the crimes. Another accused, M S Mathew, managed to find a lawyer from Kozhikode.
Assistant public prosecutor Ranjin Baby said that the crime branch has sought 11 days' custody of the accused. The court will also consider Mathew's bail plea. Mathew's lawyer submitted before the court on Wednesday that he was innocent and without any antecedents but the court reserved the decision after the assistant public prosecutor objected to the bail.
The prosecution later submitted a request for the custody of the accused to follow up with interrogation. The court summoned the accused to the court on Thursday to hear them out as they were not represented by advocates.
The police expanded the investigation team to speed up the probe. The new team includes the Thamarassery deputy superintendent of police and six circle inspectors.
Also under the scanner is a soothsayer from Kattappana, whose business card was recovered from the pocket of the deceased Roy Thomas, Jolly's first husband. Jolly has told her interrogators that she had given a powder supplied by the soothsayer to Sily, the wife of her second husband Shaju Skaria.
The police on Wednesday also questioned a BSNL employee, Johnson, who is suspected to have provided SIM cards to the woman. Her call details also revealed that she had made several calls to Johnson during the past few months.
According to Manorama News, Johnson had no clue about Jolly's crimes.
The mystery surrounding the multiple deaths in the Ponnamattam family thickened with a suggestion that two more death in the family could may be linked to Jolly.
Roy Thomas's cousins, Sunish and Unni aka Vincent, were close to Jolly and possibly transacted money with her, Sunish's mother Elsamma told Manorama News.
Vincent was found hanging on August 24, 2002, a day after the funeral of Annamma, Roy Thomas' mother. Annamma was the first of a series of family members to die under mysterious circumstances. Jolly is learned to have confessed to poisoning her mother-in-law to tighten her grip in family matters.
Sunish died on January 17, 2008 in a road accident. Suneesh's family had to sell a part of the family land to pay off his obligations though they were not aware of the debts, Elsamma said.
NIT denies Jolly's claims
The National Institute of Technology, Kozhikode, on Wednesday said Jolly Joseph was neither a temporary or permanent employee of the institution.
"We have checked NIT records since the year 2000 and Jolly was not an employee at the institute. She was not even employed as temporary employee," NIT Registrar, Lt Col (Retd) Pankajakshan said.
The investigating officers had made a confidential visit to the campus a month ago to gather details of Jolly, who had claimed for years that she was a lecturer at the institute.
Jolly, a commerce graduate, had told her relatives and friends that she was working in the NIT and used to travel by car to the college daily.
Eight years after her first husband Roy Thomas's death following consumption of cyanide-laced food, police had arrested Jolly and two others on Saturday and started investigations into the death of five others of the family between 2002-16. Jolly married her husband's relative Shaju in 2017.
Shaju was questioned for almost the whole day on Monday and was let off after his statement was recorded.
The investigation into the suspicious deaths in Roy's family began after his US based younger brother approached police complaining that the post mortem report had revealed traces of cyanide.
The remains of the other relatives were also exhumed for examination.