A man, accused of killing his children and his in-laws in June 2010, was convicted by the fifth additional sessions court in Puttur on Tuesday. While the hearing for the quantum of punishment will be held on Monday, Ramesh Naik, the accused, has been sentenced to life imprisonment by a Tumkur court last year for killing his mother-in-law and sister-in-law.

The case was built on the confession of Mr. Naik, who was then the manager at a bank in Sholapur in Maharashtra. He claimed to have killed his mother-in-law Saraswati and sister-in-law Savita (35) on June 14 by strangling them in their house in Tumkur after an argument over Savita’s affair with a man of another caste. The confession allegedly admits his own affair with his sister-in-law. The bodies were dumped in a water tank near the house.

He then returned to Mangalore on June 16, where his wife stayed, and while she was at work – she too is a banker – he took their two children Bhuvan (8) and Krithika (4) in a taxi to Panaje in Puttur where he drowned them in a lake.

Apart from the confession, there were also messages he had sent his wife – from his mobile and his sister-in-law’s mobile – informing her that her sister, mother and children “were gone” and now it was her turn. He was nabbed by the Puttur police in a lodge there.

Public Prosecutor Shivaprasad Alva said that considering the pre-meditated nature of the crime, and the subsequent threats to witnesses, the prosecution would press for a death sentence for the accused.

Reporter assaulted

A reporter of a local daily was assaulted by a group of around 30 persons in Vittal, Bantwal taluk on Wednesday morning. Subsequently, a molestation case was filed against the reporter. In his complaint to the Vittal Police, V.T. Prasad (36), a reporter who has been working with the local daily Karavali Ale for more than a decade, said he was beaten near his house by around eight men, while others stood guard.

The reason he stated for the attack was the help given to his neighbour – a widow from a minority community – to rebuild her house. According to his statement to the police, after the article highlighted their squalor, the district authorities took action, while others contributed to her wellbeing.

The statement adds “relatives” called him on Wednesday morning to thank him; and when he showed up at the house, a group of people – from a local group – pounced on him. His statement says they apparently questioned why he, of a different religion, would help her out.

He suffered severe head injuries after being repeatedly struck with clubs.

After the assault, the woman, who was admitted to Wenlock Hospital in the city, filed a case with the Vittal Police alleging that the reporter had molested her. The complainant states that the reporter, had visited her house daily, and around 9 a.m. on Wednesday had held her hand. Her screams attracted neighbours, who followed him to his house and beat him, she said.

B.V. Seetaram, Director and Chairman of Chitra Publications Private Limited which publishes Karavali Ale, said the attack and consequent “false charges” was harassment of a reporter “with impeccable credentials”. “The charge is to tarnish his reputation there. He has written extensively about the land, timber and building mafia. He was on good terms with his neighbour, and has brought her plight out in an article. The group could not stand that,” he said.

Police said they were investigating both complaints, and no arrest had been made so far.

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