In a breakthrough in the brutal rape and murder of a 30-year old Dalit woman law student at Perumbavoor, a migrant labourer from Assam was on Thursday arrested, 50 days after the gruesome murder that had become a major issue in the recent Kerala assembly elections.
“We have got the accused in the murder case,” Additional Director General of Police, B Sandhya Indian Police Service, heading the Special Investigating Team in the case, told reporters in Kochi after the accused was brought to Aluva.
Refusing to produce the accused Ameerul Islam before media, Sandhya said police wanted to build a strong case against him.
“We will collect more evidence, including identification parade, to build a strong prosecution,” she said.
Police said 23-year old Islam, hailing from Dholda Gramam in Assam’s Nauga district, was taken into custody from Kancheepuram in Tamil Nadu. He had left Perumbavoor soon after allegedly committing the murder on April 28.
He was brought to Aluva Police Club for interrogation with his face covered amid tight security.
The man was allegedly under the influence of alcohol when he committed the crime, police said, adding he had a ‘pervert’ mindset.
The woman, who hailed from a poor family, was raped and brutally assaulted using sharp-edged weapons before being murdered at her house on April 28.
The rape and murder was in focus during the assembly polls campaign with political parties attacking the then United Democratic Front regime for tardy progress in the investigation and failure to nab the culprits.
The Left Democratic Front government, after assuming power on May 25, had changed the investigation team and entrusted the probe to ADGP Sandhya in its first cabinet meeting itself.
Police said the investigation would be completed after conducting the DNA test of the accused.
Earlier in the day, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said in Thiruvananthapuram that the suspect in the murder of the law student was in police custody.
“Investigation team has received full information about the accused. From yesterday (Wednesday) onwards, the accused was under police radar,” he said.
“The development is a feather in the cap of Kerala Police,” he said.
Police said a blood stained chappal (footwear) found from a canal near the victim’s house was one of the key evidences in identifying the culprit.
A DNA test conducted earlier on the saliva found from the bite mark on her back, the blood found on the chappal and the lock of her room had revealed that it was only one person who committed the crime, police said.
Over 100 police personnel, who had launched a scientific investigation into the incident, had questioned over 1,500 people. They examined finger prints of over 5000 people and went through over 20 lakh telephonic conversations before reaching the culprit, police said.