KOCHI: The body of a 39-year-old person who had been missing for the past 21 days was found at Kumbalangi in a decomposed state. Police suspect it to be a murder and possibility of a gang war is not ruled out as the deceased was allegedly involved in several criminal cases.
The body of Lazar Antony was spotted by local residents. It was partly submerged in a marsh near the Kumbalangi Kadavu area around 11 am. After police arrived at the spot it was ascertained that the body was of Lazar, a native Kumbalangi 10th ward. “The body was in a decomposed state. But the person could be identified as he was a familiar to the residents there,” a police officer said.
According to police, Lazar was missing since July 9 and a case in this regard was registered at Palluruthy police station. The deceased was a history-sheeter with many drug peddling cases in his name. “As the body was recovered in suspicious circumstances, we are probing the possibility of murder behind it. It can be confirmed only after postmortem. We have shifted the body to the mortuary and a postmortem is expected to be conducted in two days. As the body is in a decomposed state, any injury can be identified only through postmortem,” a police officer said.
Local residents in Kumbalangi said that, in recent years drug peddling gangs were active in the area. The gangs are mostly active in isolated areas at Kumbalangi-Chellanam Road. “Clashes between these gangs are frequent in the area. Even peddlers from outside Kumbalangi are often spotted roaming here. A few years back, another drug peddler was also found in similar circumstances. We are fed up giving complaints to the police. A permanent solution is required as a large number of youths in the area have become drug abusers by now,” he said.
Praveen Bhargavan, member of Kumbalangi 10th ward, said drug menace is a serious issue in Kumbalangi. Once a peaceful area known for scenic spots, it has become a haven for drug peddlers. “The panchayat itself decided to act during the lockdown period based on which each ward member started collecting information about drug peddlers and abusers in their respective wards. Following this, a gang with LSD stamps were arrested from here a few months ago,” he said.