Kochi, 05 Sep, 2019: The Kerala High Court on Thursday has decided to set aside the life term for eight accused, out of total nine, in the Paul Muthoot murder case.
Earlier, the life term was awarded for all nine convicts in the case by a CBI court in 2015. High court dropped the name of Kari Satheesh, the first accused, as he failed to file his appeal at the High Court against the CBI court judgement. Satheesh was the one who had stabbed Paul Muthoot and had publicly admitted it. With the court cancelling the life sentence, Jayachandran, Sathar, Sujith, Akash Sasidharan, Satheesh Kumar, Rajeev Kumar, Shino Paul and Faizal will walk out of jail now.
Paul's father, M. George Muthoot, and the chairman of the Muthoot group, said he will approach the Supreme Court against the High Court's verdict. Paul belonged to the wealthy Muthoot business family which is into private banking and has numerous other business ventures.
On August 21, 2009, a gang of 13 persons, travelling in two vehicles, had been contracted by a businessman to settle scores with a rival of his. While they were travelling on the MC Road in Alappuzha, they came to witness a road-rage incident in which Paul, driving a Ford Endeavour, slammed into a two-wheeler motorist and drove away without helping the victim. The gang followed Paul on the road and waylaid him near Mannanchery. During the altercation that followed, Satheesh stabbed Paul Muthoot causing him grievous injuries that eventually led to the latter’s death.
While driving the car, two notorious criminals- Om Prakash and Rajesh – were along with Paul.
The CBI court in 2015 found 13 out of the 14 accused guilty of murder and conspiracy. The court found Kari Satheesh, the main accused, and nine others to be guilty of murder, while others were found guilty of conspiracy.
Later, an investigation by the CBI proved that Paul Muthoot, who had been partying hours before his death in a resort at Chambakulam with two men, had later driven in an SUV to another resort.
The murder mystery was first investigated by the police and later transferred to the Crime Branch which arrested 14 people. Later, Paul's father sought a CBI probe. The central probe agency took up the case in January 2010 and the CBI court in the state capital on September 1, 2015, sentenced all the accused to life term.
The motive for the crime, according to the investigating agency, was the intervention and altercation by the accused after Paul's speeding vehicle knocked down a two-wheeler near Alappuzha.
The accused and his group of men who saw this followed Paul and stopped his vehicle and after a verbal altercation, stabbed him to death.
The probe team also found that the gang was on their way to eliminate another person when they picked up the quarrel with Paul that resulted in the murder.
Even after the CBI probe, many other allegations surfaces, big names in politics and the movie industry were linked to the murder. But the CBI investigation proved that the young businessman was at the wrong place at the wrong time, and was a victim of road rage.
The Muthoot group is multi crore conglomerates which is into gold loans, hospitality and stockbroking.