Kasaragod: Two people have been held over the murder of B K Roopashree, a teacher at Vidyavardhaka High School at Miyapadavu near Manjeswaram in Kerala's Kasaragod district.
The arrested were K Venkitaramana Karanthar, also an arts teacher at the same school, and his neighbour Niranjan Kumar, 23.
The police said the murder was committed after the colleagues had a fall-out over financial dealings. The accused then dumped her body in the sea.
The decomposed body of the woman was found on the Kumbala beach in the district on January 18, two days after she was reported missing.
Her relatives had told the police that Roopashree had often complained about a colleague troubling her. This proved to be crucial in solving the case.
The police said that Venkitaramana, 42, took Roopashree to his house on January 16 and under the pretext of settling their differences.
Roopashree had parked her scooter at Durgipallam and reached Venkitaramana's house in his car. However, a quarrel ensued and it turned vicious with each coming to blows.
Roopashree then tried to run out of the house but Venkitaramana and Niranjan Kumar, who was hiding, stopped her. The duo reportedly dragged her into the bathroom and killed her by immersing her head inside a bucket full of water.
It is suspected that chemicals were mixed in the bucket, causing the hair to rip off. Roopashree's hair was found from the accused's car. When the head was immersed into the water, the bucket broke and then the accused threw water on to her face from a huge can.
Roopashree was murdered in the evening on January 16.
The duo then put the body in a sack and tried to dump it in Mangaluru area and Nethravathi bridge. After finding these places unsuitable, they reached the Kanwatheertha Beach near Manjeswaram late into the night and disposed of the body in the sea.
Venkitaramana drove around the car for several kilometres with the body in the trunk.
Meanwhile, his wife reached Hosangadi from Mangaluru by 5pm. Venkitaramana went to pick his wife in the same car with the dead body. They reached the house, had food and then Venkitaramana and Niranjan got out to look for spots to dump the body.
A forensic test had revealed the marks of a tyre, kept in the car trunk, on the victim's body.
The police suspect that Venkitaramana had plotted to carry out the murder days ago. Roopashree was murdered on the wedding day of another colleague. As Venkitaramana did not turn up for the wedding at Hosangadi, Roopashree called him up. He asked her to come to his home instead. Roopashree first went to her daughter’s school at Manjeswaram, then went to Durgipallam and got into Venkitaramana’s car.
Roopashree lied down on the back seat to prevent herself from being sighted by others.
As chemicals were already mixed in the bucket of water, the police said it hinted at pre-meditated murder.
District Crime Branch SP A Satheesh Kumar and team, comprising sub-inspectors P Babu, A Balachandran and senior civil police officer Pratheesh Gopal, made the arrests.
Murder before anniversary
Roopashree and husband Chandrasekharan had planned to celebrate their 20th wedding anniversary on January 24. But before that tragedy struck.
Roopashree's birthday falls on January 28.