The Sukumara Kurup of 'rubber sheet theft' arrested after 37 years

In 1985, a year after the notorious Sukumara Kurup slipped off Kerala Police's grasp, a thief in the village of Vechoochira in Pathanamthitta too fell off the radar.

Unlike Kurup, who was accused of murder, Podiyan, then aged 34, was wanted for the petty crime of stealing rubber sheets. The same year, Podiyan was arrested and released on bail, but then he went into hiding and in 1995, was declared a fugitive. Rubber Tiles

The Sukumara Kurup of 'rubber sheet theft' arrested after 37 years

Like Kurup, Podiyan remained an elusive subject for the cops until this Saturday, 37 years later, when he chose to reveal his identity.

The drama unfolded when a team of the Vechochira Police set out to a forest area in the Pathanamthitta district in search of the fugitive. The search was part of a special drive launched to revive similar cases.

The police team headed by Vechoochira CI Jerlin V Scaria had information that Podiyan was in Pothupara. Their search ended in front of a shack occupied by a 71-year-old, with a pack of dogs giving him company. To their surprise, the old man revealed his identity as Podiyan and admitted to the crime for which he was still wanted.

“We did a basic search with his available local address. Though we met his sister she said she knew nothing about him. We got a tip-off from someone who said he had heard Podiyan was living at Pothupara,” CI Scaria told Onmanorama.

Podiyan told the cops that he had been living at Pothupara under a false identity and survived doing odd jobs. Pothupara falls under the jurisdiction of Koduman police station in Pathanamthitta. The case files have long gone and the details of the complainant are also not available. In fact, the cops figured more about the case from Podiyan himself.

He was produced before a magistrate and granted bail, again, on a personal bond. The case is likely to be quashed.

In a similar incident, the Vechoochira police had recently arrested an accused in a local street fight case from Karunagappilly in Kollam after 22 years. CI Scaria had previously cracked a 23-year-old theft case when he was posted at Ramapuram near Pala in the Kottayam district.

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The Sukumara Kurup of 'rubber sheet theft' arrested after 37 years

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