Victim was drugged: Police uncovers new evidence in Kerala's snakebite murder case

Victim was drugged with pills: Police uncovers new evidence in Kerala's snakebite murder
Sooraj and Suresh, the two primary accused in the Kollam Snakebite Murder case, when they were brought for evidence collection. Photo: Manorama

The police have uncovered new evidence in the chilling murder of Uthra by her husband Sooraj using venomous snakes in Kerala's Kollam district on May 7.

According to the police, Sooraj has revealed that he had sedated his wife using sleep-inducing pills before releasing the snake on her. The pills were bought from a medical shop in Adoor. Police conducted an inquiry here on Wednesday. It was learned that Sooraj had bought the pills prior as well – during his foiled murder attempt on March 2.

Sooraj had bought the venomous snake from an acquaintance and orchestrated the murder with a snakebite while Uthra was in a pill-induced slumber. Sooraj had bought two venomous snakes for Rs 10,000 from Suresh, a snake-catcher.

A Crime Branch probe revealed the 27-year-old had prior experience handling snakes and had researched the topic on YouTube several times in the past three months.

Snake exchanged during the lockdown

The snakes were exchanged on April 24, during the second phase of the lockdown, near a petty shop on the road to the old Enath marketplace junction, the police said.

The place was deserted in view of the lockdown, the police added. The surveillance camera at a nearby shop too was non-functional.

The investigation team led by Crime Branch DySP A Ashokan also took the accused to his Parakode house Wednesday for further evidence collection.

I am innocent, Sooraj claims

Sooraj, in the custody of Kerala police
Sooraj, in the custody of Kerala police

Days after he confessed to murdering his wife using a venomous snake, Adoor native Sooraj is now claiming that he is innocent and that he was forced to admit the crime by the police.

Talking to media persons on Thursday, Sooraj alleged that the container that was supposedly used to carry the snake – considered to be vital evidence in the case – was planted at Uthra's house by the police. He said his fingerprints on it too was set up with brute force.

The allegations came even as police are piling up evidence against him and tighten the case. The court had on Tuesday remanded the accused for four days in police custody to aid the investigation.

A history of malpractice

Uthra died of the second snakebite at her house in Anchal, Kollam on May 7.

After rigorous questioning, Sooraj confessed to plotting the murder. The fear of having to return the dowry money had reportedly prompted Sooraj to kill his wife.

Uthra had reportedly sought a divorce from him after months of mental and physical torture.

Uthra’s parents had filed a complaint with the police that the jewellery presented to their daughter during her wedding was missing. Police found that Uthra's bank locker, jointly operated with Sooraj, was opened on March 2.

Police also found that Sooraj has a history of malpractice. He had reportedly committed fraud at a financial firm where we worked. Then, Uthra's father had given Rs 50,000 to settle the issue.

Sooraj, Suresh and another accomplice were taken into custody on Sunday after a probe led by Crime Branch DySP D Asokan.

The Forest Department too has filed a case against Sooraj and Suresh under the Wildlife Protection Act.

This is the second big murder to hit global headlines in recent month. In October 2019, the murder of six in a family over a span of 14 years in Kerala's Koodathayi too drew considerable media and public interest, not just in Kerala but across the world.

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