Mumbai: In a crucial development, the main accused in the Kerala elephant poaching case has been found dead in Maharashtra.
Ikkaramattam Vasu was found hanging in a farm house in Dodamarg, Maharashtra by Saturday around 8.30 pm. He was working as a labourer at the farm house.
A suicide note was found from the site. In the note, Vasu wrote that he is taking the extreme step as a case was registered against him. He has also stated that his sister and her husband have nothing to do with the suicide.
Farm owner had asked Vasu to leave
The farm house where Vasu was working belonged to a Muvattupuzha native who has been cultivating pineapple in Dodamarg.
The probe team had issued a lookout notice for Vasu and other accused. The death of Vasu comes at a time the officials were looking for the hideout places of the accused.
Sources said that the owner asked Vasu to leave after the former came to know of the lookout notice. Vasu was planning to take a train to Kerala on Sunday, sources added.
The Kerala Police and forest officials have been notified of the latest development in the case.
He shot dead 20 jumbos
A native of Kothamangalam, Vasu has killed over 20 elephants by shooting them. He was the main accused in the case.
The police had come to know of Vasu’s role from the cook of the poaching gang.
Police believe that in the poaching gang, Vasu had the ‘task’ of shooting down elephants. The poaching mafia is said to have international links. So far, 19 people have been arrested in the case and 16 of them are middlemen and traders. The other three belonged to the poaching gang.