Police in hot pursuit of merchant's killers

Last Updated: Fri, Dec 28, 2012 12:30 hrs

Thiruvananthapuram, Dec 28 (IANS) Kerala Police probing the murder of a diamond merchant here appear to have tracked down the killer gang, according to police sources.

The murder has baffled police. Earlier reports that the diamond merchant belonged to a royal family have been proved false, police say.

Harihara Varma, 59, who according to earlier reports was a member of the Mavelikara royal family, was Monday afternoon found dead here.

Three people had come from Chennai to buy from Varma diamonds reportedly worth Rs.300 crore.

The police swung into action and sent out various teams to neighbouring states.

The 'diamonds' recovered by the police from the site, however, were found to be fake, worth not even peanuts.

Varma was found killed by excessive use of chloroform by a three-member group which had arrived in the city to buy diamonds through advocate Haridas, an aide of Varma.

Haridas also was smothered with chloroform. However, he recovered and raised an alarm, calling the police.

Police claim that Varma used to deal in precious stones, and had made sales of diamonds in the past too.

His wife Vimala Devi testified before the police Friday that her husband owned properties in Coimbatore and Theni districts of Tamil Nadu.

She told the police that her husband was tight-lipped about his family.

Leader of Opposition V.S. Achuthanandan has already asked the state government to order a Central Bureau of Investigation probe into the incident, to ascertain where and how the man acquired the diamonds.

More from Sify: