Three persons, including a former tenant, were arrested in connection with the murder of 68-year-old Sumati Prabhu in Kulai in February.

The police gave the names of the accused as Shivaram (26), a former tenant of Ms. Prabhu, Bahadhur (22) and Shanawaz (21).

Ms. Prabhu, who was staying alone, was found dead in her house in a pool of blood on February 8. The murder occurred a few hours after some persons had enquired her about the vacant portion of the house for rent. The murder was a whodunit as they were not many clues available. Perpetrators had cut off Ms. Prabhu’s ears to take away gold ear rings and they had also made away with her gold chain. They also had slit Ms. Prabhu’s neck in a manner that was similar to way members of Dandupalya gang murdered people, the police said.

Concerns were expressed by her son Ramdas Prabhu over the delay in arresting the accused. Democratic Youth Federation of India activists and Kulai residents had carried out a protest last month.The police said Shivaram, a native of Rajasthan, stayed in the house for two years before vacating it in 2012. Two persons, who are from the same village as that of Shivaram, replaced Shivaram as tenants. Shivaram reportedly kept an eye on Ms. Prabhu, who was “known to flaunt her jewellery”.

The police said Shivaram, who had moved to a house in Someshwar, had reportedly called Bahadhur, also from Rajasthan, to his house in January. Shivaram had also reportedly developed acquaintance with Shahnawaz, a native of Uttar Pradesh, who worked in a saloon near St. Bank Circle. Shivaram allegedly planned to use Bahadhur and Shahnawaz for murdering Ms. Prabhu.

The police said on February 8, Mr. Shivaram reportedly introduced Bahadhur and Shahnawaz to Ms. Prabhu as prospective tenants. The two reportedly paid Rs. 500 as token advance to Ms. Prabhu. While leaving the two near the house, Mr. Shivaram called two persons from this village, who are the other tenants of Ms. Prabhu, for a work of putting tiles in house. The police said Bahadhur and Shahnawaz later entered Ms. Prabhu’s house and allegedly murdered her.

The police had to study call records of Ms. Prabhu in detail to unravel the mystery behind her murder. They had to travel to villages in Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh in search of the accused. The police have recovered part of jewellery that had been taken away, the police said.

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