Kollam: The conviction of Sooraj S Kumar for double life imprisonment in the sensational Uthra murder case by the Kollam Additional Sessions Court on Wednesday came as a feather in the cap for the Crime Branch of the Kerala Police.
It was the Crime Branch which revived the case which was earlier messed up by the Anchal police station. There were many flaws in the investigation by the local police.
Uthra was found dead in her house on May 7, 2020. But the local police could not gather evidence about a possible murder after the incident. The station inspector did not take up the case directly for investigation. The required evidence with regard to the snake used for murder was not taken properly.
After receiving complaints from Uthra's relatives, the Crime Branch team led by Deputy Superintendent of Police A Ashokan took over the case. On May 24, Sooraj was arrested. The expert team conducted a detailed scientific examination and analysis. They demolished one by one the ploys employed by Sooraj to make it an ordinary death.
SOORAJ'S MAIN CONTENTION DEMOLISHED
Sooraj stated that the snake entered the house at Anchal through the window panes. But during the scientific test, it was proved that a king cobra cannot enter a room by crawling through doors or window panes.
A grown-up snake measuring a length of 152 cm had bitten Uthra.
It was also found that the snake could not crawl on its own through the smooth tiles laid on the ground floor of the house. Only if it is provoked and made to run, the snake would opt for such a course of journey.
During the second murder attempt in Parakode, a viper was bitten when she was sleeping in a room on the first floor. But a viper never crawls vertically to such a height. Moreover, neurotoxic venom of the king cobra and hemotoxic venom of the viper were found in her body.
The case was put on track by the Crime Branch by using scientific information gathering, scientific forensic tests and dummy experiments. The house and bedrooms were properly sketched and a detailed route mapping was done, making the investigation smooth. The findings of all these tests pointed towards the clear involvement of Sooraj in the crime.
DEMAND FOR PROPERTY RAISED SUSPICION
The Crime Branch found that Sooraj's every action smacked of cruelty. He wanted to usurp Uthra's property after convincing everyone that Uthra died of a snake bite. But when he picked a quarrel demanding property of Uthra just after her death, Uthra's relatives became suspicious and raised the allegations that he was behind the murder.
Sooraj had managed to take away all the gold ornaments from Uthra and deposited them in his bank locker before he attempted to kill her using a viper.He thought he could make a claim for Uthra's property once she is finished. What dithered Sooraj from going for divorce was that once divorced, he would have to give back all the money, gold and vehicles which he had received from Uthra's parents. With a one-year-old child by his side, he thought of enjoying all the property of Uthra after her death.
SURESH MAY BE RELEASED
The Additional Sessions Court had ordered the release of Chaavarukavu Suresh, the accused-turned-witness in the case, if remand is not needed in any other case registered against him.
It was from Suresh, Sooraj bought viper and king cobra. The Forest Department had earlier registered three cases against Suresh.
RECORD SPEED IN PROSECUTION
It was at a record time that the chargesheet was filed and the trial was conducted in the case. The chargesheet was filed on the 82th day afterSooraj's arrest.
On December 1, 2020, the trial began in the case. At first, though, Sooraj's father was included as an accused on charge of destroying evidence in the case, he was later excluded from the list of accused. Initially, there were no witnesses in the case. Later, Suresh was made a witness.
The CCTV footage, the video of the snake's post-mortem and the video of the class taken by Suresh in Sooraj's house were all screened at the court during the trial.
A video demonstrating the circumstances in which a king cobra becomes violent was also screened at the court.