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Sobha John gets bail;'main suspect' hints blackmail was motive

Written by: Staff
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Kochi, Aug 8 (UNI) Even as the main accused in the Sabarimala tantri Kandararu Mohanararu case, Sobha John, was today granted bail by a lower court, a man claiming to be key suspect Abdul alias Bachu Rahman, indicated blackmail was the main motive behind the July 23 attack on the priest.

A man, claiming to be Bachu Rahman, whom the police have described as a key conspriator alongwith Sobha John, reportedly called up the news desk of 'Uttar Desh'', an eveninger coming out from Kasargod, and said that photographs of the 'tantri' were taken alongwith a woman in a compromising position.

He said the film roll was now in the possession of the ''higher ups'', at whose behest the attack on the tantri was carried out in Sobha's Link Laxman Apartments flat here on the night of July 23.

Senior police officials investigating the case told UNI here that they will look into the authenticity of the call. ''We cannot comment on this right now. We will look into the matter. We are hopeful of nabbing Bachu soon,'' they added.

The man, claiming to be Bachu Rahman, however, denied that any gold ornaments or mobile phone were stolen from the tantri. Local television channels were playing the audio tape of the purported phone call since this afternoon. He also reportedly said that the photographs have been handed over to an English language televsion channel.

Police have described Bachu as a business partner of Sobha John and also a smalltime film and television serial actor.

He reportedly told the Kasargod-based newspaper that he was not directly involved in the blackmail attempt and that the attack on the tantri was organised at the behest of some other people.

He said a six-member goonda gang was hired, of whom four were from Mumbai and two were from Kasargod, for this purpose.

Asked where he was at the moment, the man replied ''You can say I am in some Gulf country. I am in a safe place.'' Meanwhile, the Ernakulam chief judicial magistrate today granted bail to Sobha John while dismissing the bail pleas of co-accused Anil Kumar and Vigil. The two have been remanded in judicial custody till August 22.

The police have registered the case against the accused under IPC sections 395 (robbery) and 120-B (criminal conspiracy).

The three were arrested on August two in connection with the July 23 attack on the Sabarimala tantri in Sobha's flat here.

Sobha John has been described by the police as a key link in an alleged sex racket in the city while Anil Kumar and Vigil were her accomplices.

Tantri Kandararu Mohanararu, one of the main priests at the Sabarimala Ayyappa temple, was sacked by the Travancore Devaswom Board on July 24 as reports of his alleged involvement in a sex racket surfaced.

UNI ARC DK1708

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