Jesna missing case: Court asks CBI to probe further

After taking over the investigation, CBI examined more than 100 witnesses


The Thiruvananthapuram chief judicial magistrate ordered the CBI to further investigate the infamous Jesna Mariya James missing case. Jesna disappeared on March 22, 2018, from her residence at Santhosh Kavala, Kollamula in Pathanamthitta. On that day, she was dressed in black jeans and a bright green top when she took an autorickshaw from her home to visit her father's sister's house.

There is evidence suggesting that Jesna reached Mundakkayam but was never seen again. At the time of her disappearance, Jesna was a second-year B.Com student at a college in Kanjirapally. She lived with her father and siblings, as her mother had passed away earlier. On March 23, 2018, following Jesna's disappearance, her father, James Joseph, filed a complaint at the Vechuchira police station.

The initial investigation of the case was conducted by the local police, after which it was taken over by DySP of Thiruvalla. Following this, the district police chief formed a special team for the investigation, with DySP R. Chandrasekhara Pillai, S. Rafeeq, and J. Santhosh Kumar leading the inquiry. In October 2018, the case was handed over to the Crime Branch, where it was investigated by DySP Pathanamthitta Crime Branch.

Subsequently, Pathanamthitta SP K.G. Simon took charge of the investigation, with Crime Branch DySP K.H. Muhammad Rauthar serving as the investigating officer. ADGP Tomin Thachankari supervised the investigation process.

After the inability to locate Jesna, the CBI assumed control of the case on February 10, 2021, following the directives of the High Court. Despite their efforts, the CBI also failed to trace Jesna.

After taking over the investigation, CBI examined more than 100 witnesses and investigated places from Jesna’s hometown to places in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Goa and Maharashtra. 

On December 30, 2024, the CBI submitted the final closure report before the court. In that report, CBI made the allegation that the Kerala Police did not make use of the “golden hours” to trace Jesna. It also said the CBI also could not trace where Jesna was. CBI report said a classmate of Jesna—who was initially a suspect in the case—had no involvement in her disappearance. The CBI also rejected the involvement of any religious extremist groups behind her disappearance.

Subsequently, Jesna’s father James submitted a petition requesting the court to direct the CBI to continue the investigation for six more months. In that petition, her father also asserted that he has no suspicion about Jesna’s classmate. “But we suspect another person,” he said in the affidavit. 

As per Jesna’s father’s affidavit, on the day she went missing, Jesna had heavy bleeding and “the volume of blood oozed out is double of usual menstrual blood”. “The blood-soaked clothes were kept in her room when she left from the house on 22-3-2018 and subsequently it was taken over by the Crime Branch,” claims the affidavit. 

The family alleges that the investigator did not make any progress on the scientific examination of these blood-stained clothes. The family also stated that the CBI did not investigate a “secret place” where Jesna used to go for prayers on Thursdays. Incidentally, Jesna went missing on a Thursday.

According to Jesna’s father’s affidavit, he and his close associates conducted a confidential enquiry between the end of 2023 and 2024, and that he is ready to hand over their findings to CBI. James handed over the new evidence he collected in a sealed cover to the court. The CBI earlier had stated in the court that it is ready to reinvestigate if there is new evidence. And, after examining the evidence presented by Jesna's father, the court now ordered for a reinvestigation.

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