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Chottanikara case: accused found guilty

By Our Staff Reporter

KOCHI, MARCH 2 . The Ernakulam Additional Sessions Judge, T.B. Sivaprasad, today found the two accused in the case relating to the murder of six members of a family in Chottanikara guilty of offences punishable under Sections 302 (murder), 306 (abetment of suicide), 201 (causing disappearance of evidence) and 120B (criminal conspiracy).

The accused are Ashokan and Lekha, who belong to Nemom in Thiruvananthapuram district. The judge will pronounce the sentence on Friday. The prosecution case was that 65-year-old Shyamala, her three daughters, son and grandson were found dead in their rented house at Kidangayam, near Chottanikara in Kochi, on October 17, 2003.

According to the prosecution, Ashokan had killed the family members, as he wanted to marry Shyamala's daughter Lekha. The prosecution charge was that he convinced them into taking poison as the family had run up huge debts. The owner of the house had demanded rent arrears the previous day and threatened to evict the family from the premises. The accused had also pretended to take poison and had jumped into a well in the compound of the house. They were admitted to a nearby hospital by the neighbours. The prosecution charge was that after making sure that all were dead, they had thrown the six persons into the well. The accused had also prepared a suicide note and made all of them sign it.

The accused and others hail from Anakuzhi, near Nemom in Thiruvananthapuram. They had moved over to Chottanikara four years ago. The accused who was not related to the family had started living with Shyamala, mother of Lekha, the second accused, after striking an acquaintance with the former.

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