What Really Happened to Sukumara Kurup

This is a fanfiction work. It tells a fictional narrative of the Sukumara Kurup case, on what happened to him after he disappeared. This is a kind of a crossover, created by combining fiction with narratives from the Malayalam movies Kurup and Lucifer. It is (obviously) not real. This story does not follow any particular universe but is rather a mixture of them all. All copyrights, etc. belong to the original owners. The author has no relation to the makers of either movie, nor does this work have anything to do with the upcoming movie “Empuraan“.

Kurup is available to stream on Netflix and Lucifer on Amazon Prime.

Spoken about in whispers and in fear, the name Qureshi-Ab’ram had been floating around the darker corners of the world for nearly a decade and a half. Global authorities were initially of the opinion that the name represented an organised crime syndicate centered in the Middle East with ultra-secretive methods of operation, remarkable by its complete absence from the public sphere, unlike other “well-known” underworld syndicates. However, in the past couple of years, security agencies have generally agreed that Qureshi-Ab’ram is not an organisation but a singular person. Nearly nothing is known about this person, including their gender, other than that they are possibly of Persian origin, a dark, mysterious figure who never steps out into the light but pulls strings while perpetually remaining in the shadows.

Alexander Gelmosby met Stephen Abraham for the first time in Gdansk, Poland, in August 2004. Stephen was a somewhat well-known smuggler in his circles and a loudmouth with a very high opinion of himself (he called himself ‘Lucifer’). He approached Alexander for help in smuggling a large stash of gold from Dubai into India via its western coast. Alexander instantly recognised Stephen’s thick accent and mannerisms, and noticed that they were nearly identical in height, weight, build, skin colour and facial features. They could easily be mistaken for brothers, or even identical cousins! Alexander learned that nearly all of Stephen’s operations were out of Dubai and that he was virtually unknown in India. He saw an opportunity to finally put a plan he had in his mind into action, and that too, just in time.

Stephen met Alexander again in St. Petersburg in January the following year at the latter’s invitation, being informed that Alexander wanted to make him partner given the success of their previous operation. What Stephen did not expect was that he would end up forever on the bottom of the frozen Baltic sea after being fed a tad too much of poison-laden Stolichnaya Vodka. However, what Alexander did not know, was that Stephen had already used his name to send another shipment to India, which was already at sea.

In 2007 a new name started doing the rounds of Kerala politics. Stephen Nedumpally, a planter from the high ranges of Kerala with close ties to the top leaders and family of the ruling party, including its top leader and Chief Minister of the state, P.K. Ramdas, emerged to become one of the most talked-about people in Kerala. It was said that he was running contracting businesses in the Middle East for several decades before recently returning to Kerala. Many people, especially old timers, found something vaguely familiar about him but could not place their finger on what.

Stephen famously got into an ugly tussle with the chief minister’s former brother-in-law, Bobby, a notorious figure and billionaire with alleged ties to the Dubai and Mumbai underworlds. In late 2009, Bobby was found dead in Mumbai. Stephen Nedumpally disappeared from Kerala around the same time.

Constanzia von Sommerberg is a director of investigative operations of the Interpol. She heads a task force for monitoring organised crime and smuggling rings spanning Europe and Asia. In late 2012, she appeared in front of a council for European security to present her report on Qureshi-Ab’ram.

“My son’s girlfriend is Indian,” she began. “She was born in the southern state of Kerala in the early eighties, and her parents migrated to Germany soon after. Her paternal grandfather, Mr. Vishnudas, was an illustrious and decorated officer of the Indian Police Service in Kerala. He solved many complicated criminal cases in the 80s and 90s whose detail he would record in a series of diaries. These diaries ended up in the possession of his grand daughter. She loves telling stories from them. Among them is a very interesting case, one that remains unsolved for 40 years.”

“In 1984, a person named Sukumara Kurup and his gang murdered a man and burned his body in Kurup’s car in Kerala. They wanted to make it look like Kurup had died, ostensibly for insurance fraud. Mr. Vishnudas’ investigation uncovered the truth but Kurup managed to escape, giving them the slip on a ship out of Bombay bound for London. The official version ends there, but the story continues in Mr. Vishnudas’ diary. It says that he was approached by a Sheikh Wajid, a member of a branch of the Kuwaiti royal family, who was also Kurup’s ex-employer. He accused Kurup of having swindled him out of millions of dollars. Wajid made a deal with Vishnudas that he would “take care” of Kurup aboard the ship if he would look the other way. We don’t know what happened aboard it, but Wajid “died” shortly thereafter in a car accident in Beirut. Kurup’s trail ends there, and he remains untraceable until today.”

“Fascinating story. But what does all this have to do with Qureshi?”, asked one of the council members. “It does, the story has only begun.” Constanzia said with a smile.

“I got curious and looked up Kurup’s photos. The first thing I noticed was the uncanny similarity between him and the international criminal operator we know as Alexander Gelmosby.” she said. “So we thought it would be worthwhile to investigate this angle.”

“As you know, we have a detailed file on Mr. Gelmosby as he is among our primary global interests. His first mention in our records appears as a passenger on an ocean liner that left Bombay for London in 1984, incidentally, the same ship which Kurup gave Mr. Vishnudas the slip. Gelmosby ran smuggling operations between India and Dubai until the early 1990s when he relocated to Istanbul to make a name as an intermediary between Ukrainian, Russian and Caucasian gangsters trying to grab Soviet assets. Later he shifted to Kiev, Gdansk, Arkhangelsk and Helsinki running operations of mostly arms and gold. Gelmosby was also involved in some shady contracting work for occupying American forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

“We were closing in on Gelmosby when he suddenly dropped off the radar. His last known sighting was when he landed in St. Petersburg on a chartered plane out of Helsinki on January 22, 2005. It was suggested that Alexander was dead or incapacitated of his known heart ailment, but we don’t buy that story because most of his previously running operations continue to be active and guided to this day.”

“His nationality or ethnicity was unclear at first because “Gelmosby” seems to be an unlisted surname,” continued one of Constanzia’s associates. “We expected him to be Eastern European or maybe Nordic, but our first contact by an agent surprisingly confirmed him to be Indian and from Kerala! His last active photograph was sent around the world including to the Indian central police, intelligence agencies and the Kerala Police, but it remained a dead end.”

“We then conducted a string of digital forensic analysis and mapping of their facial photographs taken over the time. There is no doubt that Kurup and Gelmosby are the same person. Their cranial structure is 100% the same. A DNA test would confirm this without doubt”.

“Then in February 2005, the USS Winston Churchill patrolling the Arabian sea intercepted a distress call from a trading vessel that was under attack from pirates. As you know, there is significant CIA presence on those craft given the international sensitivities involved. By the time the team arrived, the crew of the trader had managed to subdue the attackers, but not before the pirates detonated a mine blowing a hole in the stern of the ship and disabling it. The CIA team discovered a secret cache of nearly 250 kilograms of pure, 24-carat gold in a false hold next to the hole. The crew swore that they knew nothing about this cargo.”

“The CIA asked around. They found that the gold originated from Sevastopol and was bound for some undisclosed location on the western coast of India, which they would be informed of at the last minute. They also found that the operation and cargo belonged to a certain Stephen N Abraham. We knew this Stephen as well. He also hailed from Kerala and was a main link in the Arabian Sea gold trafficking ring. He was known to be a loud mouth and braggart who had trouble keeping his mouth shut, so we weren’t surprised when he was reported to have “disappeared”.

“Stephen’s last known location was also St. Petersburg, on January 22, 2005. This, incredibly happens to be the exact same time and place when and where Gelmosby’s trail also ends. And yes, they were known associates.”

“Our deduction is that Gelmosby possibly did away with Stephen and assumed his identity. After all, their physical features are quite similar,” said Constanzia.

“So we followed Stephen Abraham’s trail. He owned some landed properties and estates in Kerala, to where he had returned to in 2005. The story is that he was in the Gulf all these years running contracting businesses. The only catch is that his name was now “Stephen Nedumpally”, and in a decade he had earned a name as a prominent but shady politician. His official name seems to have been “N S Abraham” until 2006 when he changed it to “Stephen Nedumpally”. I can imagine that you have already deduced this, but by photographic evidence, Stephen Nedumpally is almost definitely Alexander Gelmosby. Taking this further, here you can see Stephen Nedumpally’s fingerprint taken from his election affidavit, and here is “N S Abraham’s” – the former Stephen Abraham – fingerprint from his passport records. You can see there is only a 15% match. This means these two are definitely different people. On a hunch, we ran a check of Stephen Nedumpally’s fingerprints against Sukumara Kurup’s prints, and found a 95% match!”

“Wow. This is really some discovery! So you are saying that your Gelmosby/Kurup returned to India under an assumed alias? Why would he do that? Why would he want to risk exposing himself by going back to where he is a wanted fugitive?”

“We believe that it was a risk he was willing to take. This takes us to Bobby Nair, another smuggler. Alexander and Bobby met sometime during the mid 1990s in Dubai and became very close and partners. Then, while in Istanbul, Bobby betrayed Alexander to the Turkish secret police for some unknown reason. Gelmosby narrowly escaped to Kiev but had to leave behind all that he had built, which was promptly appropriated by Bobby. He swore vengeance and has been after Bobby ever since. We believe that he had been plotting to get back at Bobby through his ex-wife, who is the daughter of Mr.Ramdas, a prominent Kerala politician and current Chief Minister. The only hurdle in this plan was getting into India, and the opportunity for that literally fell into his lap in the form of Stephen.

“Bobby Nair was found dead in Mumbai a few months ago. No prizes for guessing who was behind that. And we haven’t seen much of Stephen Nedumpilly. The man has vanished.”

“Interesting. I think I can see where you are going with this. You are implying that Qureshi-Ab’ram is an Indian fugitive from 1984?”

“Yes, sir, it looks like that.” Replied Constanzia. “Our deduction is thus. In 1962, Gopikrishna Pillai employed with the Indian Air Force, deserted and to avoid capture changed his identity to Sukumara Kurup. In 1984, he committed murder to fake his death. When that didn’t work changed his identity to Alexander Gelmosby and fled the country. Over the next two decades built an international criminal empire based out of Ukraine, Russia and Finland. In 2005, he again committed murder and faked his death but this time he assumed two new identities: Stephen Nedumpally as his visible self and Qureshi-Ab’ram his criminal alter-ego. He slipped back into India as Stephen, extracted revenge on his erstwhile partner and vanished.”

“And what ties Gelmosby and Ab’ram together?”

“As we have seen, this faceless name of Qureshi-Ab’ram started floating around soon after Alexander Gelmosby disappeared. And we have proof that Qureshi-Ab’ram runs all operations previously of Gelmosby’s organisation. Last month, a prominent gold trader complained to Indian authorities about a threatening call he received from someone claiming to be Qureshi-Ab’ram. We traced the call, made via Satellite phone, to a remote location 200 km south of Arkhangelsk. Satellite surveillance from the area show an airstrip with a private jet landing, and a vehicular convoy moving northwards. We tracked the plane back to Dubai and to one of Gelmosby’s old shell companies.”

“Can you establish all this? Scientifically? Of course we can’t get into Russia, but still?”

“Of course, these are all circumstantial evidence that we need to scientifically prove. We can establish without a doubt that Stephen Nedumpally is Alexander Gelmosby is Sukumara Kurup, but the Qureshi-Ab’ram link is tenuous at best. But all these are way too many coincidences and happenstances to be ignored. They lay out a visible trail and tell a clear story and puzzle for us to piece together. If we could get some DNA sample or even some photographs…”

“Well. That needs to be checked. So where exactly is he now?”

“We don’t exactly know. We believe he is somewhere in Russia, in the vicinity of Archangelsk. Any attempt at extraction is risky. A highly efficient team of ex-SPECOPS operatives led by an ex-black ops commander is guarding him.”

“What is your plan ahead?”

“We will continue to track him and his operations in all ways possible. In the meantime, we will work on building a case to concretely establish his antecedents. Our aim is to prove that Sukumara Kurup is Alexander Galmosby, Stephen Nedumpally and Qureshi-Ab’ram.”

“One more thing. You say gold and arms. Is he involved in narcotics too?”

“Well, for all his faults, he considers the drug trade “evil” and keeps away from it at all costs. Apparently, he often says that ‘Narcotics is a dirty business‘.”

The housing complex was barely discernible in the semi-Arctic wilderness of Birch trees as far as the eye could see. The complex was all but a fortress guarded by watch towers, electronic security systems, electrified fences, motion detecting infrared cameras, automatic perimeter weapons, heavily armed guards and even a SAM battery. The man whom the people of Kerala knew as Stephen Nedumpally sat on a comfortable armchair by a fireplace sipping tea. Zayed Manzoor entered the cozy study and reported that they had secured the compound and had found nothing suspicious.

Stephen Nedumpally ka kya hoga ab?” asked Manzoor.

“For now let them believe that saala mar gaya. They will find his shot up car near the Aarey Milk Colony in Mumbai, but his body will never be located, of course. Let his fate lay shrouded in ambiguity. We never know when we will need him again.”

Thousands of kilometres above, satellites were busy clicking photos of the complex.

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