Actor Kalabhavan Mani’s death: Police find insecticide bottle

Chalakkudy (Kerala), March 19 (IANS) A day after chemical tests revealed the presence of an insecticide in the body of actor-singer Kalabhavan Mani, Kerala Police on Saturday searched his 30-acre farmhouse near Chalakkudy in Thrissur district and found a few bottles — one of which is believed to be that of the toxic material.

Mani, 45, who acted in 200 films in Malayalam and other languages, was admitted to a hospital in Kochi on March 4. Said to be suffering from a liver ailment, he died two days later.

After his death, hospital authorities reported the presence of a chemical in the body, leading to speculation that he may not have died a natural death.

Mani allegedly consumed liquor in the company of some friends in his outhouse near Chalakkudy in Thrissur district where he took ill.

Police had then registered a case of unnatural death and sealed his outhouse.

Officials on Friday said the chemical test revealed the presence of the insecticide ‘Chlorpyrifos’.

The probe, after the new development, is now being headed by Inspector General of Police M.R. Ajithkumar.

The team has taken statements from numerous people as well as actors like Sabumon and Jaffer Idukki who was with Mani, the day he fell ill on March 4. Sabumon and Jaffer Idukki had earlier said they left the farmhouse quite early.

On Saturday morning Deputy Superintendent of Police K. Sudarshan, who is entrusted with the investigation, arrived with his team of officials accompanied by an excise department team to the farmhouse.

The police team searched the entire farmhouse — that comprises a farm of nutmeg trees — and left around 3.30 p.m.

Police searched the septic tank of the house, and at the end of the day said they found a bottle believed to be that of a pesticide. They also took a few other bottles.

“We got a few bottles… We will know what they contained only after scientific tests,” Sudarshan told the waiting media, before leaving the farmhouse.

Police have also been able to locate the person believed to have prepared the illicit brew and also the man who brought it to the farmhouse that day.

Police have questioned several of the actor’s friends who used to be visitors to the farmhouse, where there used to be regular parties.

Manikantan, who lives near the farmhouse, said he met the actor on the morning of March 4 and he was “in his usual jovial self”.

“The next morning, I was surprised to find three of the actor’s close aides arrive on a motorcycle and they were cleaning the outhouse. They told me Mani has gone on a foreign trip. They left the place carrying bags,” Manikandan told the media on Saturday.

The late actor’s manager Jobi told reporters on Saturday that he was surprised to hear reports of the presence of pesticide in the actor’s body.

“The only agriculture crop in the farmhouse is nutmeg and to my knowledge, there has been no application of any chemical fertilizers,” said Jobi.

Meanwhile, the late actor’s family members expressed happiness over the probe. His younger brother R.L.V. Ramakrishnan was also present on Saturday at the farmhouse.

Mani’s wife Nimmi, a veterinary surgeon, has categorically said her husband was a strong willed person and would have never committed suicide.

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