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Murder or Car Crash? Putting Together The Missing Pieces of Ex-Miss Kerala’s Mysterious Death

A former Miss Kerala and runner-up were killed after their car overturned near Kochi, while trying to avoid hitting a two-wheeler, on November 1. On the surface, the incident seemed like an unfortunate accident that claimed the lives of Ansi Kabeer (winner of Miss Kerala 2019) and Anjana Shajan (a runner-up at the same event).

Along with the two models, who died on the spot during the alleged ‘accident’, also present in the car at the time of their deaths, were two other persons — one was the driver of the car, who sustained minor injuries, and another was their friend, an advertising professional named Ashiq who was severely injured and later passed away in the hospital.

The incident occurred past midnight and although it seemed like an accident, cops spotted many red flags and discrepancies, and almost two weeks after the deaths of the models, the Kerala Police began working backwards on the chain of events prior to the accident to rule out any foul play.

The only witness of the event was Abdul Rahman, the sole survivor of the car crash who was driving the car on the fateful night of the ‘accident’. Even though Rahman continued to be in hospital for some days after the crash, police had, by then, registered his arrest under charges of ‘involuntary manslaughter. It was on their way back that the car, after hitting a two-wheeler, lost control and turned turtle. It was also said that the driver was under the influence of alcohol. However, later during his interrogation, many useful pieces of information came to light.

Prior to the crash, Kabeer and Shajan had gone to attend a DJ party at a hotel. While the probe team recovered the hard disk of the CCTV footage at the hotel, initially they failed to get any visuals of the party raising suspicions. However, reports claimed that there was an unpleasant incident during the party. Before things could take an ugly turn, the youngsters had left the hotel. Police also discovered that at the time of the accident, the car of the two women was being followed.

During interrogation, the driver of the car said that the victims’ car was going at a breakneck speed. According to reports, the driver of the car which followed the models’ car had called up and informed the hotel owner about the accident.

The Kerala police later interrogated the owner of the hotel where the DJ party took place. Despite several summons, hotel owner Roy J.Vayalatin did not come forward to record his statement. After the State Police chief Anil Kant intervened, he finally appeared before the probe team. The Kerala police probe team finally arrested Roy J. Vayalatin (the owner of the hotel) and five of his staff members after which Vayalatin confessed to the police that the CCTV hard disk which contained the visuals of party has been destroyed.

The police team had asked all those present at the party to come forward to record their statement which did not help as many of the participants were unregistered. Those who had registered were being summoned.

In another related development, the person who was following the ill-fated car, Saiju, approached the court seeking anticipatory bail as he feared being arrested.

However, before police team could link the events, the owner of the hotel where the DJ party was held prior to the car crash and his five staff members got bail in a matter of 24 hours for want of any evidence against them. In the remand report, the police expressed doubts whether drugs played a role in the incident. The angle of blackmailing also needed to be probed, they said.

Meanwhile, fresh media reports have also surfaced about the alleged role played by a top police official who ever since the incident occurred has been using his clout to keep Vayalatin out of the police probe.

A special team of the Crime Branch headed by S.P. Biji George later took over the case. During the interrogation since the hotel staffers had revealed that the hard disk which contained footage from the party was destroyed and thrown into the nearby backwaters, a team of scuba divers on Monday (22 November) afternoon jumped into the backwaters, near Kochi with the objective of trying to retrieve the hard disk.

The divers are attached to the Fire and Rescue Unit of the state government and those who know the backwaters will say that this is going to be a futile attempt, as it’s been more than two weeks, since the hard disk was thrown into the waters.

The incident occurred in the wee hours of November 1 and had it not been for sustained media coverage, this might not be just a car crash, the scene today is the police is now trying to unravel if there was anything foul in this case.

 

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