NIA arrests first accused in Kerala professor’s hand-chopping case after 13-year chase

In a significant breakthrough, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has apprehended Savad Meeran Kutty, the first accused in the gruesome hand-chopping case of Professor TJ Joseph that happened in 2010 in Kerala.

| Updated: 10 January, 2024 2:37 pm IST

ERNAKULAM: In a significant breakthrough, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has apprehended Savad Meeran Kutty, the first accused in the gruesome hand-chopping case of Professor TJ Joseph that happened in 2010 in Kerala. After evading authorities for 13 years, Savad was tracked down in Kannur, marking the end of a long pursuit.

The incident, dating back to July 2010, involved a group of assailants attacking the professor near his residence in Kerala’s Muvattupuzha, resulting in the brutal severing of his hand. According to the NIA chargesheet filed in 2013, Savad, along with his accomplices, attacked Joseph with a chopper, knives, and a small axe after smashing the car’s windshields. Country-made bombs were used to deter family members and others from rescuing Joseph during the assault.

On Wednesday, acting on a tip-off, NIA’s fugitive tracking wing raided a rented house in Beram near Mattannur in Kannur, where Savad was residing with his wife and two children under the alias Shajahan. For the past five months, Savad, according to police sources, had been living in Beram, working as a carpenter in the area. Before relocating, he had stayed in various parts of Kannur and reportedly worked in a gulf country. The NIA took him into custody and brought him to their Kochi office.

Savad had been on the run since July 10, 2010, when a five-member assailant group associated with the Popular Front of India (PFI) attacked Joseph, pulling him out of his car and mutilating his hands near his Muvattupuzha residence. He, while severing Joseph’s right palm, infamously stated, “The hand, which has insulted Islam, shall not be of any use in the future.”

The case involves 54 accused, and the trial took place in two phases at the NIA court, resulting in the conviction of 19 individuals. The investigation agency stated that the attack was provoked by a reference to one of Professor Joseph’s B.com exam question papers in March 2020.

Reacting to the arrest of the first accused, Joseph expressed satisfaction but highlighted that the masterminds behind the heinous act were still at large. He emphasised that individuals like Savad were mere foot soldiers, and the principal conspirators were yet to be apprehended.

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