Aluva massacre case: Following police verification, Antony likely to be released from jail

On January 7, 2001, six members of a family were found murdered in a house on the Pipe Line Road in the city
Augustine and his family
Augustine and his family

Ahead of the release of Antony, the accused in the Aluva massacre case, the police carried out verification after reaching Vatican Street in the area. For the last 17 years, Antony has been lodged in Poojappura Central Jail. As he had completed his sentence, the jail authorities made three attempts to release him. However, Aluva Police did not report in favour of Antony. The latter had tried for parole many times as well, but nothing had favoured him.

On January 7, 2001, six members of a family were found murdered in a house on the Pipe Line Road in the city. Owner of a hardware shop, Manjooran Augustine, his wife Baby, son Jaymon, daughter Divya, mother Clara, and sister Kochurani were found dead. The police found an arrow sign with blood on the wall close to the bodies of Augustine and Baby. The incident gained wide attention and a team of 30 officers was immediately formed to probe under Ernakulam Rural Superintendent of Police.

Augustine had gathered assets worth lakhs in the form of land, gold, and cash. The investigation led to Antony, a relative of Augustine, after questioning relatives and neighbours of the victim. Immediately after the crime, the suspect had left Aluva, flying to Dammam via Mumbai. Following Antony, the police were able to recover the gold that belonged to the victims, which he had sold in Mumbai. However, the police were unable to fly to Saudi Arabia to arrest the suspect.

Besides, extraditing Antony to India was not easy since India, back then, hadn’t signed a treaty with Saudi Arabia. Therefore, they scripted a plan where Antony’s wife was asked to read out the sentences the investigators had drafted. Later, she was put under surveillance.

Two of the officials, B Sasidharan and Abraham Cherian went to Mumbai to meet Arun Memon, who had helped Antony fly to Saudi Arabia. He was instructed to send a message to Antony’s sponsor in Dammam, saying that his wife wants him to bring back Antony. However, Antony’s sponsor agreed and he was taken into custody from the Sahar airport.

Finally, he was brought to Kerala on February 10 and his arrest was officially recorded on the same day. He confessed to the crime after questioning. Augustine’s sister Kochurani had agreed to help Antony financially so that the latter can go abroad. However, she later backtracked on the offer and Antony became vengeful.

On that dreadful night, he reached Augustine’s home around 9 pm when the latter and his family were about to go for a movie. After they left, he asked Kochurani about the money, but when she refused, he killed her with a knife. Clara who tried to save her daughter was also murdered. He waited there for others to return, as he knew that they could give him away.

Following Crime Branch and later CBI investigation, on February 2, 2005, a CBI court sentenced him to death. He had approached Kerala High Court and later the Supreme Court. However, when he approached the Supreme Court again, his punishment was reduced to life imprisonment.

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