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The murder came to light one-and-a-half years later, following a rift that developed in the group leading the main suspect to file a theft case against the other three. 

MALAPPURAM: In a heinous crime, a traditional medical practitioner from Mysuru was killed by a group in Nilambur in October 2020 after keeping him hostage for over a year. The culprits cut his body into several pieces and threw them in the Chaliyar river near Edavanna.

The murder came to light one-and-a-half years later, following a rift that developed in the group leading the main suspect to file a theft case against the other three. Nilambur police have arrested Shaibin Ashraf, 42, of Kaipenchery in Nilambur, Ponnakkaran Shihabudheen, 36, of Sultan Bathery, Thangalakath Noushad, 41, Sultan Bathery, and Naduthodika Nishad, 41, of Nilambur so far. Shaibin is the main culprit in the case and according to police, he is an industrialist. The other three worked for him.

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According to the police, Shaba Sharif, 60, had been running a clinic in Mysuru where he treated hemorrhoid patients successfully using a secret traditional medicine.  Shaibin approached Shaba seeking his service to treat a hemorrhoid patient. But his real intention was to obtain the details of the medicine that Shaba used for treating hemorrhoid patients and start a business selling it. He made Shaba travel with him to attend to the “patient” in Kerala.

When Shaba refused to share the details of the medicine, Shaibin locked him up in a room in his house in Nilambur. Shaba faced severe physical assaults during the period. “One day in October 2020, Shaibin brutally assaulted Shaba when the latter refused to divulge the details of the medicine. He kicked Sabha in his chest following which he died,” said Malappuram district police chief Sujith Das.

After the death, Shaibin with the help of Shihabudheen, Noushad and Nishad destroyed the evidence. “The very next night, the group cut the body into several small pieces,” Sujith Das added. Shaibin and Nishad took the body pieces near the Chaliyar in a car, while Shihabudheen and Noushad followed them in another car and they threw the pieces in the river.

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A series of dramatic incidents had unfolded before the crime came to light. In one such incident, Shaibin lodged a complaint with Nilambur police on April 24 against Shihabudheen, Noushad and Nishad. He claimed that the trio had stolen Rs 7 lakh and a laptop from him. Nilambur police took Shihabudheen and Nishad into custody based on the complaint. Sujith Das said Thiruvanathapuram police handed over Noushad to Nilambur police.

The rift the trio had with Shaibin led them to steal the money and laptop. Following the police complaint, Noushad along with some others threatened to immolate themselves in front of the Secretariat in Thiruvanathapuramon on April 29. They threatened to commit suicide claiming that they faced threats from Shaibin.

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“Noushad revealed the incidents that led to Shaba’s murder when we quizzed him. Later, we took Shaibin into custody and questioned him. He confessed to the crime. During our investigation, the Mysuru police informed us that they had registered a case on August 2, 2019 based on a complaint filed by Shaba’s family members that the traditional medical practitioner had gone missing from the city. We also got a video which showed Shaba standing with his legs shackled in a room in Shaibin’s house. We showed the video to Shaba’s family members who identified him,” the SP said. Sujith Das said it is one of the rarest case they have handled.