Chembur police crack the case of Kerala gold merchant, who committed suicide and tried to make it look like a murder for insurance money
The police get a call from Kamla Lodge in Chembur about a room being locked from inside with the occupant not responding. Illustrations/Ravi Jadhav
The Chembur police have cracked the ‘murder’ case of a Kerala jeweller after a weeks-long probe. They have found out that the deceased actually killed himself on being unable to pay off his mounting debt but tried to make it look like a murder to ensure his family got the insurance money.
Officers arrive there and break open the door to find a man hanging with his wrists slit
The police said the deceased, identified as S Sathish and hailing from Thrissur, had first made attempts to rob other merchants for money, but when all that failed, he grew frustrated and decided to end his life. Sathish used to visit Mumbai to sell gold ornaments.
Investigations reveal that S Sathish, who had decided to commit suicide, had hatched a plan with goons in Tamil Nadu to make it look like a murder
On January 15, the police got a call from Kamla Lodge in Chembur, saying a room was locked from the inside. Officers arrived and broke down the door to find a man, in his 40s, hanging from the ceiling fan with his wrists slit. The deceased, who had arrived on January 11, was identified and a murder case was filed.
Officers say Sathish and one person returned to Mumbai, where Sathish killed himself by slitting his wrist and the other hung him and fled with valuables
When the police checked the CCTV footage of January 11, they found a man walking behind Sathish as he checked in and then leaving the room in a hurry a while later.
On January 11, when Sathish had come to Mumbai from Coimbatore, he was carrying 4.5 kg gold ornaments. His family told the police that a business associate of his, Martin Antony Swami Durairaj (37), was supposed to accompany him to Mumbai but had cancelled at the last minute.
Assistant inspector Sachin Kadam and his team went to Coimbatore and scanned footage of CCTVs at the hotel Sathish had stayed at. It showed a person boarding the bus to Mumbai with Sathish. Meanwhile, the police detained Durairaj, and when he failed to give any satisfactory reason for cancelling his trip, they arrested him on January 19 and brought him to Mumbai.
During interrogation, Martin said Sathish was in heavy debt and disturbed. He also said Sathish had wanted to commit suicide to finish everything, but before that, he had made a few last-ditch efforts to get money by hiring local goons to rob a gold merchant in Coimbatore. Those attempts failed, mounting his debt further, Martin added.
He also revealed that Sathish and two others had been arrested in December in Mutthupetai for the robbery attempts. While Sathish and one of the two had been let off after a day in custody, the other was still behind bars. The police found out that the one in lock-up was Sarvanana (25), a small-time criminal in Tamil Nadu who Sathish had hired.
On January 21, inspector Jaywant Sakpal reached Mutthupetai and questioned Sarvanana, who identified the other let off as Mohammed Riyaz (32), another small-time thug who was the one who had accompanied Sathish to Mumbai. The team arrested Riyaz from Trichy. And it was his revelation that brought to light the whole twisted story.
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The police said Sathish had told Riyaz to accompany him to Mumbai and take away his money and gold after he killed himself to make it look like a murder committed for valuables. “Tempted, Riyaz came to the lodge, but when he saw Sathish slitting his wrist, he got scared,” said deputy commissioner of police (zone VI) Shahaji Umap.
“He managed to hang Sathish from the fan and then flee with Rs 4.5 lakh and three mobile phones.”
Martin, Sarvanana and Riyaz are all in custody of the Chembur police.