Kottarakkara: The accused in the snakebite death of a Keralite woman began to plot his wife’s murder after she sought a divorce from him.
The fear of having to return the dowry money had reportedly prompted Sooraj to kill his wife 25-year-old Uthra at her home at Anchal in Kollam district on May 7.
During questioning, 27-year-old Sooraj reportedly conceded that he was trying to avoid getting a divorce from his wife.
They got married on March 26, 2018. Sooraj began to physically and mentally harass his wife about 3.5 months after their wedding.
Sooraj and Uthra got into a domestic feud at their house at Adoor last January. Uthra's father Vijaysenan and her cousin Shyam had then gone to their house. They said they were taking Uthra back to her home and sought a divorce.
However, Sooraj was not ready to grant her a divorce as he feared he would have to return the 96 sovereigns of gold, Rs 5 lakh, and a car gifted to him during the wedding. Uthra's family had also given a Rs 3.25-lakh pick-up van to his father. He then started plotting Uthra's murder.
Sooraj had bought the snake from an acquaintance and plotted to kill Uthra in her sleep on May 2. However, the first attempt failed. He planted another snake at Uthra’s room while she was recuperating at her house on May 7 after the first attack. She did not survive the second attack.
More financial help
Meanwhile, the police said that Uthra's family had given Sooraj money to settle a financial fraud at his former workplace. Sooraj had reportedly committed fraud at the financial firm and the management threatened to approach the police. Then Uthra's father gave Rs 50,000 to settle the issue.
Sooraj currently worked at a firm that gave home appliances on instalments. As he constantly complained that the salary was not enough for his family, Uthra's father deposited Rs 8,000 in her account every month.
The police have found more evidence in the case. The cops had dug out the remains of a snake from Uthra's house premises. A post-mortem confirmed that it was a cobra.
The fangs and the venomous snake’s remains were collected for more tests. The 1.5-metre-long snake was in a decayed state. The wound on Uthra's left hand and the size of the fangs would be compared. The bottle used to store the snake was found earlier. This bottle would also be examined to find any secretions or scales of the snake.
Assistant veterinary surgeon Dr K J Kishore conducted the post-mortem at a temporary arrangement set up near Uthra's house. As there are no eyewitnesses in the case, the probe team is trying to collect maximum scientific evidence. The remains of the snake were buried near the spot where Uthra's body was cremated.
Interrogation to continue
The Crime Branch will question Sooraj from Wednesday. Due to the post-mortem of the snake on Tuesday, Sooraj's statements could not be taken. Suresh Kumar, who had given snakes to Sooraj, will also be questioned. The court had sent the duo to police custody for five days. The cops have also seized the bike in which Sooraj had taken the snake to Uthra's house.
Sooraj confessed that he had twice tried to kill Uthra through snakebite. However, he said that he had no role in the instance in which a viper was found on top of the staircase. But questions remain on how the snake managed to slither across the smooth tiled floor.