After unearthing serial murders by Jolly Joseph over a span of 17 years using cyanide, the Crime Branch now exhumed the body of a 14-year-old boy who was found dead under mysterious circumstances in a pond in Kerala's Thiruvananthapuram district 10 years ago.
Police personnel on October 14 exhumed the body of Adharsh after the team probing the case decided to conduct forensic examination on the remains.
Adharsh Vijayan was found dead a few hours after he had left home to buy milk on April 5, 2009. The Palode Police that probed the death filed a report saying it was a case of drowning. However, the parents of Adharsh, and even the locals, were not convinced.
They kept telling the police that they feared that the boy was murdered. Written complaints were submitted to the Police detailing suspicions about the presence of unknown men inside an abandoned building near Adarsh's house and also about the men who were usually found seated on the platform of a nearby culvert.
What had mainly aroused their suspicion was the presence of Adarsh's dry clothes near the pond in which he was found dead. It had rained heavily that day but the trousers and slippers that were placed on the verge of the pond were dry. This was odd. What's more, there were blood and semen stains on the objects. The locals told the police that these findings alone were enough to prove that Adharsh was first murdered and then thrown into the pond.
The police but sought to ignore the complaints and closed the case. This was further strange because the post-mortem report had found no traces of water in respiratory tract of the boy whom the police had concluded had drowned. The postmortem had also detected head and spinal cord injuries that suggested that the boy was badly beaten up.
The indifference of the police intensified the local campaign to reopen the probe into the boy's death. An Action Council demanding the re-opening of the case was also formed. Finally, eight years after Adharsh was found dead, the Crime Branch took over the probe in 2016.
Right at the outset, the CB concluded that it was murder. When the CB dried up the pond, they found the handle of the axe that was supposedly used to club the boy. Many are now under the surveillance of the Crime Branch, and the DNA of some of these suspects had been collected.
If in the Jolly case the burial vaults were opened to detect traces of cyanide in the dead bodies, here it is part of the police's attempt to rule out that the semen traces found on the trousers were not Adarsh's. This is part of the investigation protocol of ruling out various possibilities till a single one remains. This in police jargon is called the invalidation principle.
The CB has already collected the DNA from the traces of semen found in Adarsh's trousers. This has reportedly not matched any of the DNA samples the CB has collected till now. By exhuming Adarsh's body, and collecting his DNA from any of his bone parts, the CB is only trying to establish that the semen on the trousers was not Adarsh's. DNA samples from more suspects will soon be collected.
The body was exhumed by the investigating team comprising Kerala police and crime branch personnel. The Crime Branch had recently arrested Jolly Joseph, the 47-year-old woman, who allegedly poisoned to death her husband and five other family members in Kozhikode district. The cops had solved the case after exhuming the bodies of the victims.