Forest officials nabbed Aandikunju alias Jijo, 33, of Kothamangalam, from here in connection with the Idamalayar elephant poaching case. An investigation team from Kochi nabbed Aandikunju, the key accused in the case, from the new bus stand area around 10.30 pm on Tuesday. Later, he was taken to Kochi.
Officials said the arrest was made following a tip-off that the accused was camping in a remote place in Dakshina Kannada. Aandikunju was nabbed when he reached Kasargod looking for a new hideout. According to the confession of Kalarikudiyil Kunjumon, 62, an accused in custody, nearly 20 elephants were killed by the gang involving the arrested for tusk in the Vazhachal and Malayattoor forest divisions in the past one year. Crucial information related to the case are expected to be revealed during the interrogation of Aandikunju, who was the bodyguard of the first accused Ikkara Vasu.
Vasu was found dead in a farm house owned by a Moovattupuzha native at Sindhu Durg in Maharashtra on July 20. Officials said Aandikunju could fell an elephant with one shot and Vasu and he were poaching together for the past 10 years. The second accused in the case, Puthanpurakkal Eldos surrendered before a court on July 23. With this, 24 persons were arrested in connection with the case.
Aandikunju makes Suicide Attempt
Kochi: Aandikunju tried to commit suicide by stabbing himself with a knife when forest officials rounded him up. However, the officials overpowered him before he could make any fatal injury on his neck with the knife he had kept. The injury was not so serious and he was provided medial assistance.