The wife of an Indian convicted to death in the Gulf is running from pillar to post to secure blood money in order to free her husband.
Keralites will find the story line familiar – of an award-winning Malayalam movie 'Perumazhakaalam' – except that this time it is for real and the man who has been accused of murder is in the central prison in Abu Dhabi for killing his colleague.
Santosh Prabhakaran from Attingal village in Thiruvananthapuram was arrested in July 2011 following the murder of Subin Varghese.
Both men worked for a building maintenance company in the UAE.
A UAE court awarded the death penalty to Santosh and even as his appeal is pending before a higher court, his wife, supported by other members from the village, is frantically trying to raise enough blood money that could free Santosh from the sentence of death.
So far about Rs18 lakh (Dh100,000) has been raised and additional funds have been promised by Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy.
Speaking to Emirates 24|7, Santosh’s wife Sheena says the victim’s family are demanding Rs50 lakh (Dh280,000) to issue a mercy petition that could spare Santosh’s life.
“My family, neighbours and members of the village panchayat have come forward to collect money. So far, we have managed about Rs38 lakh (Dh211,111), which includes about Rs20 lakh (Dh111,111) promised by the Kerala Chief Minister’s office,” she says.
Meanwhile, the lawyer representing Santosh has appealed against the death penalty, which is scheduled for September 7.
Santhosh’s brother Satish, who also works in the UAE, has flown to India to try and get the mercy petition signed by the victim’s parents.
“He landed here this (Sunday) morning. We are planning to pay Rs16 lakh [Dh88,888] to Varghese’s family and get the mercy petition signed. The remaining amount has to be deposited before the court in the UAE before September 7. We are trying our best,” she added.
Santosh had come to the UAE a month after his wedding. The couple have an 8-year-old school-going daughter. Varghese is survived by his parents and two sisters.
Sheena is hoping that her story could end the way the director scripted the tale of 'Perumazhakalam'. The movie ends on a note where the victim’s wife signs off on the petition, enabling the freedom of the man who had accidentally killed his friend in Saudi Arabia.