Mohammad Shafi -- the mastermind in the Kerala "human sacrifice" case -- posed as a woman on social media and befriended accused Bhagaval Singh. His account was named "Sreedevi" where he used photos of flowers as his DP, the police said. Later, he masqueraded as a holy man and offered to conduct pujas and rituals to rid the couple of misfortune and lead them to financial prosperity, sources in the police said.
There are indications that he had a physical relationship with Bhagaval Singh's wife Laila, which was passed off as a part of the rituals, the police also said. But this, an officer added, has to be proved independently and they are looking for "corroborative evidence". There are reports that the lawyer of the accused couple has denied any possibility of cannibalism -- another angle the police are exploring.
All three are accused of having taken part in the murder of two women, detected by the police earlier this week.
The police say Laila Singh and Shafi each had sexually abused and tortured one of the two victims and killed them. Shafi, the police said, is a psychopath and pervert who finds pleasure in cruelty. He had roped in the Singhs, brainwashing them with promises of riches after human sacrifice, the police said.
During the court proceedings yesterday, the police gave a sequence of events in the two murders. The horrific attacks on Rosalin and Padma took place three months apart -- in June and September -- but were eerily similar.
Sources said both women had knives inserted in their private parts, their throats were slit, the bodies were hacked into pieces and buried. For Rosalin, the perpetrator was said to be Laila Singh. Shafi had tortured and killed the second woman, Padma. Bhagaval Singh had chopped off the breasts of Rosalin before the body was buried, sources said. The sequence of events has so far come mostly from confessional statements.The police are also looking into the claims of cannibalism made by one of the accused.
Today, the police got the custody of all three accused for 12 days for closer questioning and a thorough investigation. The court had ordered judicial custody of the accused yesterday. But the police filed a custody application today, contending that a detailed questioning is required to figure out if there are other victims.
The Kerala court where the matter came up, said the widespread use of internet and social media has also led to the spread of superstition and regressive beliefs.
Referring to the human sacrifice case which has shocked the country, Judicial Magistrate Eldos Mathew said in his order: "Even (though) the spirit of our Constitution is to promote scientific temper, modern scientific tools like Facebook, mobile phone, YouTube are being used for spreading our weird beliefs, superstitions, rituals, etc. In effect, when science and technology lead our society towards progress and development, such regressive acts backtrack the society."