The Kochi City police have launched a detailed investigation into the financial means and livelihood of the rape-accused Martin Joseph who was arrested from a hideout at Mundoor in Thrissur district on Thursday night after a three-day-long intense manhunt.
Addressing a press conference here on Friday, District Police Chief (Kochi City) C.H. Nagaraju emphasised the need to find out the means of the accused’s luxurious lifestyle involving premium flats and multiple vehicles. Police had seized two cars and a motorcycle.
The Ernakulam Central police had registered a case against Martin who was accused of restraining and raping a woman with whom he was allegedly in a live-in relation at a flat in Kochi. The investigation team had also arrested three of his aides, one of whom was accused in a ganja case registered in Thrissur, on charge of harbouring the accused.
“We will probe in detail how people of such antecedents could easily move between districts without being intercepted. We are checking whether there were more victims,” said Mr. Nagaraju.
Already one more case has been registered against Martin under Section 354 (Assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty) on another woman’s petition.
Mr. Nagaraju shot down allegations that police sat on the petition for two months without doing anything and even let the accused flee an apartment at Thrikkakara a day after the incident was reported. Mr. Nagaraju, however, conceded that more focus and resources were dedicated into the probe only after the report painted the gravity of the incident.
“We were already on the tail of the accused who was always absconding since we registered the case. We took all legal measures, including issuing lookout circulars to stop him from fleeing the State and getting his anticipatory bail plea stayed,” said Mr. Nagaraju.
Standard Operating Procedure
However, an inquiry by an Assistant Commissioner has been ordered into the delay in alerting the senior officials about the grievous nature of the crime, which was obvious from the injuries sustained by the victim. “We are looking at a Standard Operating Procedure to be followed in such cases so that such lapses aren’t repeated in the future,” he said.
The victim, hailing from Kannur and settled in Ernakulam for work, managed to flee the rented apartment when the accused had gone to fetch food one day. However, she lodged a police petition only on April 8, a month after she had escaped from the alleged torturous life.
Mr. Nagaraju praised the cooperation of local residents at Mundoor and Thrissur City Police in nabbing the accused from a hostile terrain.