The special investigation team (SIT) probing the alleged human sacrifice case in Kerala’s Pathanamthitta district on Saturday started excavating the land belonging to one of the accused in Elanthoor village as there is a strong suspicion that more people might have been sacrificed and buried.

Cadaver specialist dogs, a big team of forensic experts and all three accused are at the spot as police are trying to control angry locals. Police have arrested three people identified as Mohammad Shafi, Bhagaval Singh and his wife Laila for the murder of two women.

Two cadaver specialist dogs, Maya and Murphy, sniffed parts of Singh’s sprawling 1.5-acre land as the inspection started around 2pm. Two JCBs have been also summoned at the spot. A few bones were recovered from the spot but officials are not sure they are human bones. These will be sent for forensic examination.

The police said all three accused are keeping silent and trying to cover several things.

An SIT official said that after sustained interrogation they suspect “more killings have taken place.”

“All three accused are not revealing anything substantial in this regard. But we doubt the worst as the main accused Mohammad Shafi alias Rasheed had travelled across the state in search of possible victims,” said the SIT official who did not want to be named.

On Friday, the SIT raided Shafi’s house and hotel in Kochi.

During the investigation, Shafi’s wife Nabeeza reportedly said he had given her 40,000 in September last week and told her that he got the amount “after disposing of one of his old vehicles”, the official cited above said. Later, police had also found that he had mortgaged the gold retrieved from his second victim, after allegedly killing her.

During the course of the investigation, police also recovered 40 sovereigns of gold from a pawnbroker in Ernakulam.

A senior police official said in five years, 12 women missing cases were reported from Pathanamthitta and 14 from Ernakulam districts. He said special officers will be deputed to probe the cases.

By Shadab

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