Kozhikode: Kerala Police chief Loknath Behera admitted on Saturday that cyanide serial killer Jolly Joseph's case is a very challenging one as there is a gap of 14 years between the first and the sixth alleged killing.
He also did not rule out himself questioning the prime accused, Jolly.
After lengthy meetings with the police probe team investigating the murder trail in the family of the accused serial killer, Behera said: "This is a challenging case. I have come here, as this is an important case.
"The challenge in this case is that the first murder took place 17 years back and the last one took place three years back and hence collection of evidence is most crucial."
He spoke to the media, before heading into another brain storming session.
The preliminary investigation in the case was satisfactory, the DGP stated during his visit to Thamarassery DySP office of Kozhikode district.
Separate cases for each murder
The police registered separate cases for each of the six murders.
Initially, it was decided to reinvestigate the case of Roy Thomas' unnatural death that was registered at the Kodenchery police station in 2011. However, based on legal advice, it was decided to file FIRs for the other five cases.
"Six murders have taken place and hence there are six separate cases,” Behera said.
All the mysterious deaths took place in the family of retired government official Tom Thomas and all six dead bodies were exhumed last week for the further scientific investigations.
"Today we have constituted six different teams along with a supervision team and more people will now be inducted. It will include more forensic and legal experts.
"The other challenge is collection of evidences, the team here has been successful in detecting the crime," said Behera.
He also pointed out though that nothing is impossible for the investigators.
"There will now be several tests that has to take place and my job is to assist the team. At the moment the task of the probe team is to get maximum information from her.
"We are optimistic, there will be some traces left somewhere," added Behera.
The first in the family to die in 2002 was Jolly's mother-in-law Annamma, a retired teacher. She was followed by Jolly's father-in-law, Tom Thomas, in 2008. In 2011, their son and Jolly's husband, Roy Thomas, also died to be followed by the death of Roy's maternal uncle, Mathew, who died in 2014.
The two-year-old child of Sily, a relative by marriage, died the following year, while Sily passed away in 2016.
It was only on Friday that the police registered five more separate cases of murder.
It was on Thursday, a lower court here remanded Jolly and her two accomplices – M S Mathew, who procured cyanide, and jewellery store worker Praju Kumar -- to six-day police custody for the murder of Jolly's husband Roy Thomas.
On Friday, all the three accused were taken to six places as part of evidence collection. It was part of investigation into the death of Jolly's first husband Roy Thomas.
The case pertaining to Sily's death was registered at Thamarassery police station, while the other four cases were filed at Kodenchery police station.
The probe team has been enlarged with the induction of one more DySP and seven new inspectors. Five inspectors have been put in charge of the investigation. Three DySPs have also been tasked with supervising the probe.
Rural district police chief K G Simon would continue to head the team.
District Crime Branch DySP R Haridas would continue to be the probe officer in Roy Thomas’ murder case. Vatakara control room inspector Jineesh Kumar, and Koduvally SHO inspector P Chandramohan would also be included in the team.
Annamma Thomas' death would be probed by Perambra SHO inspector K K Biju and Tom Thomas' death would be probed by Kuttyadi SHO inspector N Sunil Kumar. Vatakara DySP Prince Abraham would supervise these probe.
Alphine's murder would be probed by Thiruvambadi SHO inspector Shaju Joseph and supervised by Thamarassery DySP K P Abdul Rasaq.
Mathew Manjadiyil's death would be probed by Koyilandi SHO inspector Unnikrishnan and Sily's murder by coastal SHO B K Siju. V Venugopal would supervise this probe.