Sitting BJP legislator from Karnataka K. Raghupathi Bhat, who is in Delhi after his wife committed suicide here, has accused his close friend and lieutenant Atulram of “misleading” his wife and held him “solely responsible for her death”.
Bhat’s 33-year-old wife Padmapriya was found hanging at a rented flat in Dwarka on Sunday, six days after she left Bhat’s home in Udupi. Her mother had lodged a missing complaint in Karnataka two days before her death.
“I had full faith in Atul and my wife. He deceived me,” Bhat said outside the mortuary of Safdarjang Hospital. Padmapriya’s brother Rajshekhar backed the allegation, saying Atulram vitiated the 11-year-long “happy marriage” that gave the Bhats two children. Neither the Karnataka Police nor their Delhi counterparts confirmed if Atulram and Padmapriya were in an extra-marital relationship. They also didn’t say if the two actually staged a kidnapping to live in Delhi together. Shalini Singh, DCP (southwest), did confirm though that Padmapriya’s post mortem report indicated she committed suicide.
The police in Udupi said that Atulram, a former storekeeper, was detained for questioning but not taken into custody in connection with the suicide. “Her body will be flown to Mangalore on Tuesday from Delhi where her post mortem has been done and inquest proceedings are under way,” said an officer.
The police said Atulram gave clues about Padmapriya's presence in Delhi. The police found it of interest that Atulram left for Bangalore the day Padmapriya went missing and returned four days later when her car was found in Kunjarugiri forest range, with blood stains, cash, and broken pieces of bangles.
“We are investigating if all this was a set up. We are also checking if Atulram indeed put up Padmapriya at the flat in Delhi and returned to Udupi to evade suspicion,” said an officer.
Atulram’s wife Meera said she didn’t suspect anything between him and Padma. “I used to visit their residence. They used to visit our home. Atul helped in tracing her,” she said.