Police want polygraph test in church arson case

THRISSUR: Police have initiated steps for carrying out polygraph tests to nab the culprits who had torched a car and two motorcycles parked at the veranda of the prayer hall of the Church of God in India denomination belonging to the Pentecost Church Kaniampal near Kunnamkulam on March 26.

Police have not arrested anyone in connection with the incident though a special investigating team (SIT) has been constituted to probe the case. According to V A Krishnadas, the Kunnamkulam CI who heads the SIT, said that the police have filed requests for carrying out the polygraph tests on five suspects before the judicial first class magistrate.

The suspects include people who have committed similar crimes elsewhere. A final decision on polygraph tests will be possible only with the consent of the suspects and of the court.

However, the church officials are frustrated that the police have not been able to arrest none so far. "If the police at Kunnamkulam is not able to make any breakthrough, the government must hand over the investigation to Crime Branch,'' said Pastor M G Emmanuel, who runs the prayer hall.

He said home minister Ramesh Chennithala who had visited the prayer hall two weeks after the incident, had assured that the investigation would be handed over to Crime Branch if the local police fails to nab the culprits within 10 days. "However, nothing has been done so far," Emmanuel said.

A meeting to protest the delay in arrest of the accused has been organized by the Christian Aikya Vedi in Kunnamkulam on June 11, he said.

According to Emmanuel, the two motorcycles were completely gutted in the fire, while the car was partially destroyed.

He said about 300 students belonging to various communities used to attend the Vacation Bible Classes, being conducted at the prayer hall, every year