Lover sentenced to life imprisonment till death for killing, burying business partner

  • The body of Rajini, who used to run a home nurse agency, was found 38 days after she was reported missing
  • Satheeshan, a married man with two children, was in a live-in relationship with Rajini
Rajini; Satheeshan; Benny. Photo: Special Arrangement

Kasaragod: Kasaragod Additional Sessions Court sentenced a man to life imprisonment till death for killing and burying his business and live-in partner nearly nine years ago.

Judge A Manoj found Satheeshan (49) of Nileshwar, guilty of murdering Rajini C (35), a native of Olavara in Cheruvathur grama panchayat. Satheeshan and Rajini used to run a home nurse agency in Cheruvathur town as a franchisee of Mother Teresa Charitable Trust in Vadakara.

Apart from the life sentence for the murder, the judge handed down another five of rigorous imprisonment for destroying evidence by burying the body, which was found 38 days after Rajini was reported missing.

The court also found Benedict alias Benny, the then president of Mother Teresa Charitable Trust, guilty of destroying evidence and sentenced him to five years of rigorous imprisonment. He had helped Satheeshan transport the body to Kanichara in Nileshwar, 10km from Cheruvathur, said public prosecutor E Lohithakshan.

The court slapped a fine of Rs 2 lakh on Satheeshan under the two charges. If the fine is not paid, he will have to serve another three years in prison. Benny has been fined Rs 1 lakh.

While sentencing the convicts, Additional Sessions Judge Manoj appreciated the investigating team and the public prosecutors for proving the guilt of the accused beyond doubt.

The case was investigated by the then Inspector U Preman of Nileshwar Police and Sub-Inspector P R Manoj of Chandera Police.

How the police cracked the missing case

Sometime in mid-September 2014, Satheeshan told Rajini's elderly parents Janaki and Kannan that their daughter had gone missing. Rajini used to live with Satheeshan in their office and rarely went home.

The worried parents filed a missing person complaint at Chandera Police.

The first thing the police did was call Rajini's number. The phone was switched off.

The investigating officers then collected her phone's IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) number and found that the phone was active with a different SIM. "It was being used by the wife of Satheeshan's friend," said public prosecutor Lohithakshan. That put Satheeshan on the list of suspects.

The police also found that Rajini's phone was switched off in the early hours of September 12, 2014. "Till then, the phones of Satheeshan and Rajini were in the same location," he said.

All these took time. With this cyber evidence, police confronted Satheeshan and he spilt the beans. He told police that Rajini was forcing him to marry her. Satheeshan was married with two children and was not inclined to marry Rajini.

He told police there was an argument between them over their marriage in their office-cum-house on the intervening night of September 11 and 12. "Around 3 am, he hit Rajini and she passed out. He then strangled her with his hands," said the prosecutor.

After he ensured she was dead, he hid the body in the office for two days. Then he called Benedict and told him about his fight with Rajini. When Benny came to Cheruvathur, Satheeshan and he shared a drink in the office. "That's when Satheeshan told him about the murder. Benny got worried and agreed to lend his car to take the body out of the office," said Adv Lohithakshan.

On the night of September 14, the two took the body and drove to Kanichira, where Satheeshan used to live. "There was a vacant plot next to the apartment where he lived. Benny left the body there and returned to Kozhikode," the prosecutor said. Satheeshan did the rest on his own.

The police exhumed the body on October 20, 2014. As soon as the test confirmed it was Rajini's body, her father Kannan died of shock, said Adv Lohithakshan.

Delivering the sentence, the judge directed the District Legal Service Authority to recommend to the government an apt compensation for Rajini's mother Janaki. If the two accused pay the fine, it would also be given to the family.

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