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According to locals in Mattanoor near Kannur, Sawad was known as Shajahan to them. Illustrative image. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Kochi: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Wednesday arrested the key accused in the infamous Kerala Professor’s hand chopping case in Kannur, where he was living with his family as a carpenter for over a year.

Sawad was on the run for the last 13 years, from the day he committed the crime, and the NIA had declared a reward of Rs1 million for anyone who gave information about him.

According to locals in Mattanoor near Kannur, Sawad was known as Shajahan to them.

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Noufal, a local said Sawad had been living with his wife and two kids in a rented accommodation.

“He used to work as a carpenter and did not have any contact with the locals. He used to leave in the morning for work and return late in the evening. He married a woman from Kasargod, where her father was an activist of the SDPI – the political wing of the now-banned Popular Front of India (PFI). His wife says she never knew of his past,” said Noufal and added that the picture that’s been shown on TV is very different from what he looks like now.


At the time of his arrest he was working as a carpenter at a new house which is nearing completion.

Meanwhile, NIA officials are expected to produce Sawad before an NIA court here.

Sawad is a resident of Ernakulam district and he was the one who chopped Professor TJ Joseph’s right hand in July 2010, with the help of others. All of them belong to the PFI.

The incident took place when Professor Joseph was returning home with his mother and sister from church.

Soon after chopping Professor Joseph’s hand, the attackers told him that he was being punished for the alleged sacrilegious undertones of one of the questions he had framed in an exam at the college where he was teaching.

The case was investigated by the NIA and a special NIA court in 2015 had convicted 13 people owing allegiance to the PFI.

Reacting to the arrest of Sawad, Professor Joseph said, “As an individual who suffered this, I have nothing to say, but as a citizen, it’s good that the law enforcing agencies have arrested the prime culprit.”

“For the agencies, a liability of theirs has been wiped out, as he was on the run for long, but what about the conspirators behind this incident?” asked Joseph and added that he will be able to identify Sawad.