TRIVANDRUM: Kerala police on Thursday arrested two persons in connection with the murder of Latavin tourist Liga Skromane in the state capital of Trivandrum last month. The arrest of the two identified as Umesh and Udayan was recorded by the special investigation team (SIT) led by Inspector General Manoj Abraham following eight rounds of questioning.
According to police sources, the duo, who were involved in drug peddling, lured Liga to the secluded mangrove forest and murdered her after sexually assaulting her.
Rape charges were slapped against them after the chemical examination report of the internal organs of Liga and other forensic evidence confirmed sexual assault. The post mortem report had earlier confirmed that the 33-year-old tourist was strangulated to death.
Police sources said that the two, who reside in the proximity of the spot at Panathura, where Liga’s body was found on April 20, had confessed to their crimes. Liga, who came to Trivandrum for ayurvedic treatment for mental depression, had gone missing from the ayurvedic centre at Pothencode on March 14.
From there she took an auto rickshaw to the Kovalam beach in the state capital. As per police sources, Umesh and Udayan approached her as tourist guides and took her to the mangrove forest near Thiruvallam and goaded her to take drugs.
When they demanded money from her, they came to know she had no money with her and in a fit of rage attacked the 33-year-old tourist.
Liga's sister Ilze along with Liga's husband Andrew was on a state-wide hunt to find Liga for over a month. At one point, Ilze alleged that the police had not given any support to them. After her body was recovered, Andrew said that things would have been different had the local police acted more promptly in the initial stages of the investigation.
The police also came under criticism for launching an investigation against social activist Aswathy, who helped Ilze in searching her sister, on the basis of a false complaint lodged by a trader at Kovalam that she had conducted a funds drive in the name of the search operation.
Meanwhile, the mortal remains of Liga will be cremated at Thycaud Santhi Kavadam later in the evening. Though a Christian, a decision to cremate the bod was taken by Ilze as per sister’s wish. Ilze and Andrew had originally planned to take the body to their country. Instead they will take her ashes and place it in the garden as wished by Liga.
In the meantime, state Bharatiya Janata Party president Kummanam Rajashekharan has urged the government not to cremate the body as the mystery over the murder of the foreign tourist is yet to be revealed fully.
The well-wishers of Liga have called a remembrance meeting at the Nishagandhi Auditorium on Sunday. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, leader of opposition in the state assembly Ramesh Chennithala and Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran are expected to attend the meeting.