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Woman killed in Congress office

Thiruvananthapuram, Feb. 11: A member of the Kerala electricity minister’s personal staff and his associate have been arrested in connection with the murder of a woman who worked as a sweeper in a block Congress office.

The partially decomposed body of Radha, 39, was found yesterday in a pond some 10km from the office in Nilambur in Malappuram district in north Kerala. She is believed to have been strangled in the Congress block office, police said.

A post-mortem of Radha’s body has revealed wounds in her private parts, raising suspicion that she may have been raped. The police said more tests were required to confirm sexual assault.

The main accused, Biju Nair, is a member of minister Aryadan Mohammed’s personal staff. Unconfirmed reports said Radha knew of Biju’s “illicit relations” with a woman and had been blackmailing him. Official sources suspect this could be the motive for the murder.

Sources said the accused told the cops during questioning that they were inspired by a recent Malayalam movie in executing the murder. Radha’s body was put into a sack and kept in the Congress office for a day before it was filled up with stones and dumped in the pond, the police added. The pond is on the property of a local Congress worker.

The accused threw Radha’s mobile SIM near a railway line close to a temple some distance away to give the impression that she had gone to the place of worship, the police said. Radha had disappeared from home on February 5, following which her relatives filed a missing complaint.

The Left and the BJP have come out on the streets in Nilambur to protest the murder. CPM state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan claimed higher-ups were involved in it and the police were trying to protect them.

BJP general secretary K. Surendran has demanded that the minister be questioned. Radha’s brother, Bhaskaran, has expressed doubts that a fair probe will be held.

The minister said he was ready to face a probe and had dismissed Biju from service.