Kerala snake bite murder: Police to conduct post-mortem of carcasses of two snakes
So far, two persons, including the deceased’s husband, Sooraj, and a local snake handler, have been arrested for letting a cobra loose in Uthra’s room on May 6, which led to her death a day later.Updated: May 26, 2020 13:14 IST
Police, investigating the mysterious snake-bite murder of Uthra S (25) in south Kerala’s Kollam district on May 7, on Tuesday decided to conduct a post-mortem on the carcasses of two snakes, a viper, and a cobra, which had bitten the deceased two months apart, in a bid to collect more scientific evidence.
So far, two persons, including the deceased’s husband, Sooraj, and a local snake handler, have been arrested for letting a cobra loose in Uthra’s room on May 6, which led to her death a day later. The fatal second bite occurred when she was undergoing treatment for the first bite by a viper at her husband’s home two months ago.
“We never came across such a case in the recent past. We have to collect maximum scientific evidence to corroborate the crime. Our preliminary investigation shows that it was a well-planned and executed murder. We have sought veterinary surgeons’ help for the post-mortem of the two snakes,” said S Harishankar, Kollam rural superintendent of police (SP), who is supervising the probe.
Circumstantial and scientific evidence would hold the key to crack the case, as there are no direct witnesses in the murder, he added.
The cold-blooded murder has shocked many after last year’s cyanide murders in north Kerala, where a woman allegedly killed six of her family members by serving cyanide-laced food. Many criminologists said the Kollam murder incident is a first of its kind in the state.
Earlier, the deceased parents had filed a police complaint alleging that Sooraj and his family members often harassed her for dowry. The couple had got married two years ago and has a one-year son.
Her father alleged that he had gifted over 100 sovereigns of gold and a new car to appease her demanding in-laws.
The probe revealed that Sooraj had bought a cobra from a snake handler for Rs 10,000. On May 6, he reportedly took the snake to Uthra’s paternal house in Anchal, where she was undergoing treatment since the first snake bite two months ago.
The police said after Uthra fell asleep, Sooraj allegedly took out the snake from the bottle and threw it on her. He remained awake all night to ensure that he could escape unscathed. He left the room in the morning and started reading a newspaper on the verandah. Soon, Uthra’s mother found her daughter lying unconscious in the bed. She was rushed to a hospital, where doctors said she died of a snake bite.
Later, when the room was searched, the family members found a cobra, which was killed by Sooraj. The couple slept in an air-conditioned room and it was difficult to believe that he did not notice the snake before, Uthra’s parents alleged in their police complaint. The forest department has also filed a case against both the arrested accused of catching and killing a cobra and viper under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
Police said Sooraj plotted the murder to grab her property and marry another woman. An investigating officer said Sooraj’s parents and other family members would be interrogated soon.
Kerala Women’s Commission has ordered that Uthra’s son should be handed over to her parents immediately.
State Forest Minister K Raju, who also belongs to Anchal, has congratulated the police team that cracked the case. “I know the victim’s family members. We’ll ensure justice to them,” he said.