Kerala: Govt. orders Crime Branch enquiry on student’s death

Mishel Shaji Varghese
Mishel Shaji Varghese

Thiruvananthapuram, March 13: The Kerala government today announced a State Crime Branch police inquiry into the recent mysterious death of an 18-year old girl, Mishel Shaji Varghese, pursuing Chartered Accountancy in Kochi.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan made the announcement in the assembly even as Indian National Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) opposition staged a walkout alleging Kerala police inaction and demanding action against “blunder” investigators.

The body of Mishel Shaji Varghese was found in the backwaters near Kochi wharf last week and the family has said she died under mysterious circumstances as there was no possibility of her to committing suicide.

Replying to a notice of adjournment motion moved by Kerala Congress (J) leader Anoop Jacob, Pinarayi Vijayan said a special investigation team of the Crime Branch would probe the case.

He said the investigation was going on in the right direction and those responsible would be brought before the law, however, highly-placed they may be.

“Kerala Police have intervened into the issue effectively since they got the missing complaint by the girl’s parents.

They tried to collect her mobile phone details soon after this and launched a thorough enquiry,” Pinarayi said.

“Now, the investigation is going on… But considering the importance of the issue, the State Crime Branch will further investigate the case,” Pinarayi Vijayan added.

The Chief Minister said the crime branch would also probe the claim that the local police had refused to accept the complaint by the Mishel’s parents on March 5, the day the girl had gone missing.

“There will be not any lack of strictness or care on the part of investigators, and stringent action will be taken if found so,” he said adding the state government would not let criminals to upset Kerala’s peaceful social atmosphere.

Anoop Jacob alleged Kerala Police was trying to write off the girl’s death as a case of drowning or suicide and had accepted the post mortem report, he said.

Anoop alleged that police ‘inaction’ to accept the complaint led to the Mishel ‘s death.

Accusing police of trying to turn every such ‘unnatural’ death into suicides, Anoop Jacob said “Violations against women and children are on the rise in the state. The state government is making only announcements, but in reality, nothing seems to be happening,” Anoop charged.

CCTV visuals of a local church had shown that 2 men, on a motorbike, were seen following her just before she had gone missing, Jacob said rejecting the Crime Branch probe as inadequate.

Congress leader K C Joseph said had the Kerala police accepted the complaint on the day the girl went missing and started the probe, the tragedy could have been averted. “Kerala Police is misleading Chief Minister in this regard,” he alleged.

The opposition staged a walkout as Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan refused permission for the motion.