Nine get life term for murder of Kerala businessman
Trivandrum - Paul M. George, executive director of Muthoot Group, was murdered in the wee hours of August 22, 2009, while on his way to a resort owned by the group at Champakulam near Aleppey.
A special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court here on Tuesday sentenced nine people to life in prison and four others to rigorous imprisonment for three years in connection with the murder of 32-year-old scion of one of the prominent business houses in Kerala.
Paul M. George, executive director of Muthoot Group, was murdered in the wee hours of August 22, 2009, while on his way to a resort owned by the group at Champakulam near Aleppey.
Special court judge R Raghu found nine directly involved in the murder and the others guilty of joining the conspiracy and destroying evidence. The court also imposed a fine of Rs50,000 on first accused Jayachandran, a goon leader from Changanacherry, and Rs55,000 on eight others, who were convicted of murder. There were 14 accused in the case. The 14th accused, Aneesh, was acquitted by the court.
The court found that the murder was the result of sudden provocation on the part of the accused, who confronted Paul when he sped away after hitting one of them, and stabbed him following an altercation. The convicts were members of a quotation gang going to Changanacherry on a murder assignment.
The high profile case had many intriguing turns. The CBI that took over the investigation on the high court directive had filed two chargesheets listing 28 people. Of these, seven were made witnesses. They included Om Prakash, who had a look-out notice against him, and Puthenpalam Rajesh, a gangster notified as a "Known Depradator". Both were travelling with Paul when his car hit the gang member.
The Kerala police that investigated the case first had claimed that Paul was stabbed with a knife shaped 'S'. The knife produced as evidence was later found planted by the police themselves. The CBI chargesheet mentioned another knife, which was recovered from Manancherry at Aleppey.
Paul's father George M Muthoot had approached the high court seeking a CBI probe into the case after the chargesheet filed by the state police was rejected by the court. However, the CBI endorsed most of the police findings. The investigation by both the agencies revealed that the deceased, who had a penchant for psychedelic 'magic mushrooms', had partied heavily with the wanted Om Prakash and Rajesh, a few hours before his death. He had used Rajesh's SUV to go to his resort.
As per the chargesheet, Paul rammed the SUV into a motorcycle while driving recklessly. The assailants chased the vehicle and confronted him near Nedumudy. The assailants were provoked when Paul spoke in English. They thought he was abusing them and attacked him. He was stabbed by Jayachandran and Kari Satheesh, the second accused.
Paul's driver, who was following the SUV in Paul's Ford Endeavour, had found him lying in a pool of blood. He rushed Paul to the Aleppey Medical College hospital, where he was pronounced dead.