Nausori Highlands murder trial: Suspect changed his name

Muhammed Raheesh Isoof appeared at the Lautoka High Court Picture: REINAL CHAND/FILE

MOHAMMED Raheesh Isoof, the man accused of murdering a Nadi family in the Nausori Highlands, had changed his name, enquired about pesticides found at the crime scene and was in possession of a victim’s mobile phone.

This was revealed during proceedings in the High Court in Lautoka yesterday.

It was also revealed that police had CCTV footage of one of the victims, Nirmal Kumar, making phone calls while attempting to withdraw $50,000 from a bank in Namaka.

Phone records obtained by police showed that Mr Kumar was conversing with Mr Isoof at the time.

Detective Sergeant Anil Kumar, the lead detective in the murder investigation, made these statements as he vehemently opposed bail application for the accused.

Mr Isoof has been charged with the murder of Mr Kumar, his wife Usha Devi, their daughter Nileshni Kajal and her two daughters Sanah and Samarah on August 26.

Det-Sgt Kumar said the State had witness evidence from neighbours and a tenant of the accused. He said Mr Isoof was also a flight risk.

He said police had evidence that Mr Isoof had changed his name from Yusuf to Isoof through Deed Poll.

“Through this evidence, I strongly believe that he has the means and ways to leave the country,” he said.

Also opposing the bail application was DPP lawyer Semi Babitu who said Mr Isoof had allegedly made inquiries at a shop in Nadi about a pesticide found at the crime scene.

He said there was evidence that Mr Kumar’s mobile phone was found in the rental car listed to Mr Isoof.

Mr Babitu said police managed to obtain images from the mobile phone that placed both Nirmal Kumar and the accused at the crime scene

He said CCTV footage obtained by police showed deceased Nirmal Kumar at a local bank trying to withdraw $50,000 from his account, allegedly for a pooja and a birthday party he had been planning that week.

High Court judge Justice Daniel Goundar invited the two counsels, Iqbal Khan for the defence and Mr Babitu on behalf of the State, to make further written submissions on Mr Isoof’s bail application.

A decision on the bail application will be made next Wednesday.

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