Kochi: Youth held for trying to burn girls, after a month

Kochi: After a month, the bike-borne assailant who splashed petrol on two aviation girl students at Panampally Nagar here was nabbed by city police on Tuesday.

The accused Manu, 24, of Kuzhalmannam in Palakkad, was arrested from Kochi international airport after he was asked to come back from Abu Dhabi where he was working as a fire-and-safety officer.

The incident happened at Panampilly Nagar around 7.40 p.m. on March 14. He splashed petrol from a container on the students hailing from Ooty and Kottayam near the Government Higher Secondary School at Manorama Junction. When they screamed and alerted the nearby residents, the accused wearing helmet fled the scene before attempting to light a fire.

Though the Ernakulam south police registered a case and started a probe, no leads were found to identify the biker. Later a special investigation team was constituted by city police commissioner S Surendran that included cyber cell and scientific experts.

According to the commissioner, the accused was a close friend of one of the girls, a native of Ooty, and plotted the murder when she rejected his marriage proposal. They are distant relatives also and studied together in Coimbatore. He claimed that they were in a relationship for around five years. But when she kept a distance with him, Manu had doubts about her having another affair. The suspicion grew when he left for Abu Dhabi for work and the girl reached Kochi for her studies.

"The accused tried to convince the girl to marry him in January but she refused. Soon, he returned to Abu Dhabi and plotted the entire plan. He took a flight to Thiruvananthapuram and travelled to Coimbatore on March 12 without the knowledge of his family or friends. From there he rented a bike and reached Kochi the next day. On the way he bought a bottle of petrol from a bunk at Vadakkancherry and rented a room at Chittoor road near the shopping mall where the woman was working part-time. On March 13 night, he made his first attempt but failed. The next day, he made his second attempt but had to abandon it when the girl alerted the residents," Surendran said.The accused admitted to the crime after an interrogation through phone. "The delay was in bringing him from Abu Dhabi. He cancelled the tickets twice over these days," Surendran said.

A case was registered against him under various sections, including murder attempt. He will be produced before the court after evidence collection.

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