Exactly a week after the mysterious death of Kerala student Mishel Shaji Varghese, who was found drowned in Willington Island in Kochi, investigators have reportedly arrested a suspect in connection with the case.
Cronin, 26-year-old Piravam native, who currently resides in Chhattisgarh, is said to have been questioned by the Kochi police.
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Investigators have alleged that Cronin compelled Mishel into a relationship with him, due to which the young girl was depressed, leading to the alleged suicide.
However, Mishel's family has ruled out police claims, after CCTV footage from St Antony's Church in Kaloor, where she was last spotted alive, allegedly showed her not to be in a depressed state when she was leaving the shrine.
Meanwhile, Mishel's family has also requested the police probe the two men seen on a motorbike in the surveillance footage, as they are believed to have followed Mishel.
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Crime Branch investigation
On Monday, when Piravom MLA Anoop Jacob raised the issue in the Legislative Assembly, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan declared that the investigation would be handed over to the Crime Branch.
What we know so far in Mishel's death case
Mishel, who was a chartered accountancy student, hailed from Piravom and resided at a hostel in Kacheripady in Kochi.
She left her hostel and went to St Antony's Church in Kaloor on Sunday, March 5. Family members of the 18-year-old filed a missing case at Central Police Station as she didn't arrive at the hostel that night.
The next day, her dead body was found near Kochi Wharf, and preliminary investigations suggested the young girl had committed suicide as there weren't any suspicious marks or wounds on her. The post-mortem report said the victim died due to drowning.
However, Mishel's family are not convinced with the findings, as they believe that the smart and strong girl would not kill herself.
The case has become a hot topic of discussion on social media after netizens and many celebrities started demanding justice for Mishel, as there weren't any major developments in the case. An online petition titled Justice For Mishel has also surfaced on Change.org website.