Kerala: Arrest warrant against man who faked death 33 years ago

Thirty-three years on, the mystery surrounding the man who faked his death to claim insurance money worth Rs 8 lakh continues to baffle the Kerala Police.

Sukumara Kurup, who has become hardwired on the psyche of every Malayali over the years, is known for the infamous Chacko murder. Kurup, who was 38 then, has been absconding, leaving the police on tenterhooks for over thirty years.

Now, after three decades has come the arrest warrant issued by the Mavelikara first class judicial magistrate. The Crime Branch of CID (CBCID) to arrest Sukumara Kurup and produce him before the court. The arrest warrant was issued in December 2016.

The case, the longest in the judicial history of Kerala, has inspired several films and literature over the years.

THE MURDER MYSTERY

On January 22, 1984 a bystander noticed a burning ambassador car in a field in Kunnam area in Mavelikkara of Alappuzha district. Soon after spotting the car he alerted the locals, who rushed to the spot. To their utmost shock the man on the wheels was charred to death.

The deceased was initially identified as Kurup, who had faked the identity of the man on the wheels.

But, police team that conducted the investigation found out the real identity of the deceased. The post-mortem revealed that it was not Kurup's body.

Investigation officers said that forensic examination of the body revealed that there was no trace of charcoal in the respiratory organ. Victim's stomach exuded a stench of poison. The body was planted, police officials said.

THE IDENTITY OF DECEASED

Police got suspicious about Kurup plotting a murder.

While police became sure that the deceased was not Kurup, the family of the victim took note of a news report of a murder.

Initially, they did not suspect foul play as the victim was in a habit of staying out of home for days. But, the news report made them lodge missing complaint for Chacko.

Kerala Police swung in to action and launched a massive man hunt for Kurup. But, he was never found.

Ever since Kurup went missing, the Kerala Police have searched him across the length and breadth of the country. They were informed about his presence in Maharashtra, Bihar, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.

HOW WAS MURDER PLOTTED

Police records say that the murder was plotted by Kurup, who was working as an executive with a marine petrol company in Abu Dhabi.

Kurup was 38-years-old when he committed the crime. He scripted the crime along with his brother Bhaskara Pillai and driver Ponnappan.

Kurup hatched the conspiracy inspired by a crime of embezzlement that took place in Germany in the 1980s. Investigation officials involved in the case maintain that it was a crime motivated by absolute greed and a desire to live an extravagant life.

The murder was committed for appropriating insurance claim.

THE EXECUTION OF CRIME

Investigations revealed that before murdering Chacko, Kurup and his aides went looking for a dead body that matched his physical traits from a cemetery. However, since they were unable to find a body matching his physical characteristics, they started looking for people who resembled Kurup.

On January 21, 1984, Kurup and his aides found a man that looked like him near Hari Theatre in Karuvatta. They offered him a lift in their vehicle and later offered him a spiked drink. Police said that the unfortunate victim was identified as Chacko.

After Chacko lost his consciousness, Pillai allegedly strangled him and took him to his residence. At Pillai's residence, the trio undressed Chacko and burnt his face to distort his identity. His body was later taken to the field and placed in the driver's seat of the ambassador car that was set ablaze by the accused.

THE VICTIM AND ACCUSED

Chacko had married a year before he was brutally murdered by Kurup and his aides. His wife Santhamma, who was pregnant, reportedly underwent several hurdles to seek justice for her husband.

After the murder, Kurup's wife lost a high-paying job and she along with her children were ostracised. She worked as a nurse in Abu Dhabi. Kurup's brother Bhaskara Pillai after serving life term went on to stay in Cheriyanadu.

In 2010, Kerala Police kept a vigil outside Kurup's house during the wedding of his son with a hope to arrest him. However, Kurup never came for the wedding. His family no longer lives in Cheriyanadu and residents have no clue about their whereabouts.

Sources said that Kurup was last seen near Santa Cruz airport, Mumbai in 1990. He reportedly sent letters from an address to his relatives.

Arrest warrant against Sukumara Kurup.

(With inputs from Revathi Rajeevan)

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