Wednesday, May 08, 2002
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By Our Staff Reporter
Those arrested in connection with the murder are Umashankar (33), Sivasudhan (19), Shiju (21), Sivankutty alias Bomma (24) and Baiju (19). Sudhakaran, the third accused, is absconding
The prosecution case is that the main accused, Uma Shankar (33), had hired the help of a five member hit-team headed by one Sivasudhan (19) to murder the entire family of his wife, Meena, so that he could lay claim to more than Rs. 8 crore worth of property owned by his father-in-law, Vijayakumar (59).
However, the mass murder scheme had gone awry after the family members put up a brave resistance. The crime had occurred at around 2-30 a.m. on April 28. The armed gang gained access into the house by breaking open the door leading to the terrace. The gang had used a newly-made ladder fashioned from bamboo to climb on to the terrace.
Padma (36), sister of Meena, was the first to wake up. Though brutally attacked by the gang, she managed to raise an alarm and rouse the rest of the members of the house. At the time of the attack, Padma's grandmother, Rajamma (79), her father, Vijayakumar (59), her mother, Rajeswary (55), her sister, Lovely (26) and Lovely's infant child (11 days) old were inside the house.
The hue and cry deterred the gang members. Two of Sivasudhan's associates, Baiju (19) and Sivankutty alias Bomma (24), turned away from the brutal task assigned to them. However, Sivasudhan and his lieutenant, Sudhakaran, went ahead and attacked the family. The 79-year-old Rajamma, who tried to protect her son Vijayakumar's family, bore the brunt of the attack. She later succumbed to her injuries at the Medical College Hospital.
The gang members had severed the telephone line before mounting the assault. Even after the attackers decamped, the family dared not to step outside and seek help from neighbours. A seriously injured Padma staggered out of the house at daybreak and managed to alert her uncle Venugopal, a petrol pump owner, who stays in the same 8.5 acre compound. Though all were rushed to the MCH, Rajamma's life could not be saved.
The SP (Rural), G. Lekshamanan, described the Balaramapuram murder case as a blind one that was solved through systematic and scientific investigation. Initially the police were groping in the dark. The gang had left behind no clues. Since all were wearing gloves, no fingerprints could be lifted. The police were also baffled why the attackers had made no robbery attempt at the house. The women were wearing jewelry at the time of the attack. This left the police clueless regarding the motive behind the crime.
The SP constituted a special team with CI (Venjaranmoodu), Sasidharan, leading the investigation. The ladder used by the attackers for climbing on to the terrace turned out to be the first clue. The investigators learned that the ladder had been `hastily' fashioned the previous day of the attack by Umashankar, who was living in the western side portion of his father-in-law, Vijayakumar's house.
The ladder and a broom found in Umashankar's bathroom was subjected to Benzadine test for blood stains at the Forensic laboratory. The stains were later found to match the blood group of one of the hit-team members.
They also learned that Umashankar's love marriage to Meena was opposed vehemently by Vijayakumar and his sister-in-law, Padma. For sometime, Umashankar had been persuading his wife Meena to demand her share of the family property. Umashankar had laid claim to the portion of the house allotted to him.
Manikantan, Umashankar's helper, told the police that on April 27 night, Umashankar had met Sivasudhan, the hit-team leader, in front of the Neyyatinkara temple and handed over some money to him. Meanwhile, Sivasudhan was arrested by the police when he came to take anticipatory bail from the Neyyatinkara Magistrate court. Under interrogation he confessed to have struck a Rs. 10 lakh deal with Umashankar to kill Vijayakumar's family. Soon the other members of the hit-team, except Sudhakaran, were in the police net. Ms. Padma identified them as the persons who attacked her family.
Armed with Sivasudhan's statement, police confronted Umashankar who broke down and confessed to the crime.
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