THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Kerala Jail DGP Rishiraj had recently kicked up a controversy when he quoted the late forensic expert Dr Umadathan that actress Sridevi might not have died in a freak accident in the bathroom of a hotel in UAE, where she and her husband were staying on the occasion of a marriage function.
Rishiraj Singh made this revelation in an article written for Kerala Kaumudi newspaper.
The DGP, who held Dr Umadathan in high esteem, further recounts how he helped him solve two sensational cases easily and gives the reasons why he trusted the inferences made by the doctor.
He says that the police began realizing the role of a medico-legal expert in the force only after Dr Umadathan got appointed to that post in 1987.
“I had the opportunity to work with him when I held positions such as S P, Crime IG, ASP Nedumangadu. He helped me solve many sensational cases when I was Ernakulam police commissioner and Thiruvananthapuram deputy police commissioner.
When I talked to him about a case, he used to listen to me with great anxiety. He used each discussion as an opportunity to find out new methods in an investigation.
Whenever I invited him for discussions regarding a case, where he was, he would board a train and rush to meet me. Let me write about one or two cases that were solved only because of this soft-spoken man’s brilliance.
One day when I was the Ernakulam commissioner, I got a complaint that a jewellery owner and others at his shop were sedated and valuables including gold and cash were stolen.
I immediately reached there and examined the spot. Though there were no prima facie signs of the crime mentioned in the complaint, we couldn’t rule out a robbery.
The next thing I did was I called up Dr Umadathan. He gave some tips over the phone and in the examination done based on that, I looked for materials like chloroform that could have been used for sedating but no trace of such things was there. There was no other evidence to support the jeweller’s claim.
On further questioning, the jeweller spilled the beans and confessed to me that it was hoax played to get Insurance claim fraudulently. After that, the jeweller was arrested.
The second instance was when I was Nedumangadu SP. A person was found dead at Kallar river near Vithura and the action committee complained that it was a murder.
Locals alleged that the person was murdered when he started swimming in the river. Amid the din created by the people there, I called up Dr Umadathan and he reached the spot and examined the crime scene.
Prima facie we could not find any evidence for the chances for drowning or murder. He examined river and surrounding areas and found out that there was thick growth of weeds in that spot. His eyes stuck on a rock piece under the weeds. He concluded that when the victim attempted to swim, one of his legs got stranded in the weeds; his head went and hit the rock; he fell unconscious and drowned in the water.
He took just half an hour to solve a case that would have been mistaken for a murder. Even when I called him early morning at 3, he never sounded annoyed. When we requested some help from him, he never gave an unsure reply like, “let me see”. Through his action, he proved that he would certainly do it. Such a great person was Dr Umadathan,” Rishiraj Singh wrote.