Kozhikode: The scene outside the magisterial court in Thamarassey was chock-a-block with people trying to catch a glimpse of the so-called serial cyanide killer, Jolly Amma Joseph, the prime accused in the murders of Koodathayi here in Kerala.
Along with her two accomplices, Jolly was on Thursday send to police custody by First Class Chief Judicial Magistrate Court near here till October 16.
The accomplices helped her by supplying cyanide, and all three have been arrested for plotting the murder of Jolly's first husband Roy Thomas. At present this is the only case that has been registered by the police against her.
The police though had informed the court at Thamarassey that they would require all the three accused for 11 days custodial interrogation, as they suspected the involvement of Jolly in five other deaths as she appeared to be the common thread.
All the deaths were caused due to poisonous substance and detailed questioning and collection of evidences at a few places was required.
The court, however, only granted six days and posted the matter for Monday 5 p.m. for the bail hearing.
The police had a very tough time keeping the huge crowd at bay in the court premises. When Jolly was taken into the court and out there was huge booing.
But she was taken before the court amid tight security and this forced the court to regulate entry.
Jolly has maintained that she was a lecturer at NIT Kozhikode and the police in their affidavit have pointed this out as well.
The first in the family to die in 2002 was Thomas' wife and Jolly's mother-in-law Annamma, a retired teacher. She was followed by Jolly's father-in-law, Tom Thomas, in 2008. In 2011, their son and Jolly's husband Roy Thomas also died, followed by the death of Roy's maternal uncle, Mathew, in 2014.
A two-year-old child of Sily, a relative by marriage, died the following year, while Sily herself died in 2016.
The police began the probe into the deaths after Roy Thomas' brother, Rojo, now settled in the US, approached the Superintendent of Police and voiced his suspicions over the series of mysterious deaths.
Kerala Police chief Loknath Behra told the media in Thiruvananthapuram that he has spoken to the foremost forensic experts both serving and retired in the country and abroad.
"I by now have sought expert opinions from these experts as, once we hand over the samples to the court, then we will not be able to get it again. We are doing the best possible job in this case," said Behra.
Behra has also increased the strength of the probe team to 35, which includes forensic experts and has formed six teams, with each team pursuing one death each.
In a related development, a local astrologer Krishnakumar from Kattapana in Idukki district from where Jolly originally hails, who was reported missing has since returned.
Speaking to the media he said he never went into hiding and he does not remember of meeting Jolly and her husband, but he often hands over a metal strip filled with some holy ash and that he gives it to many of his clients.
The police have now asked Rojo to return from the US to help in the investigation.
The police have sent the exhumed remains for forensic examination. Initial reports have indicated poisoning as the cause of the deaths and they have asked the forensic officials to expedite the test results.