KOCHI: Despite the arrest of 26-year-old Cronin Alexander Baby on charges of abetment of suicide in the death of Mishel Shaji, several questions remain unanswered.
The 18-year-old CA student’s family members have refused to buy the police theory that Mishel killed herself.
“If it were a suicide like the police say, what’s the reason?” asked Shaji Varghese, Mishel’s father.
“What happened to her after she left the Kaloor St Antony’s Novena Church on March 5 evening?” he asked while addressing reporters here on Tuesday.
Shaji said the family has faith in the newly-constituted investigation team under ADGP(Crime) Nitin Agarwal. “When she called us on Sunday morning and evening, Mishel didn’t sound depressed or sad,” he said.
The relatives of the deceased said Chronin is not related to them, nor did he have close links with the family.
“I don’t know him. She hasn’t said anything about Cronin to us,” Shaji said.
As per the police version, Cronin and Mishel were in a relationship and issues there led to her suicide.
Police said they have found the youth had sent 57 messages on Mishel’s number and had called her four times the day before she went missing. He is said to have sent her 32 messages and made six calls on March 5, the day Mishel went missing.
According to Cronin’s statement, Mishel had told him she had taken some decisions on their relationship, police said.
“If the youth was indeed in a relationship with the girl, as the police said, why was there no SMS or message sent by her on his phone? There is no evidence to substantiate they were in a relationship,” said Babychan, Mishel’s uncle.
Michel’s relatives hinted Cronin had attended a family function a few months ago and had met her. They said Michel’s friends had told them on March 5 about Cronin harassing the girl. They had no idea about the alleged manhandling by the accused till then too, they said.
Crime Branch takes over
The Crime Branch team, entrusted with the inquiry, took over the probe on Tuesday. The investigators collected statements of Shaji and his wife Sailamma, who met them.
According to the family members, the Central Police station officers had not taken any action on the night of March 5 when they approached them after receiving information Mishel was missing. They said had the police conducted an inquiry right then, based on tracking her mobile phone, their daughter would have still been alive. The search commenced only on the morning of March 6, they alleged.
Babychan also said it was the relatives who collected the CCTV visuals showing two youths following her on a motorcycle when she visited the church at 6.15pm.
“So far, there is no clue on who followed her,” the relatives said.