Staff Reporter

Fears over her mobile theft being exposed drove her to the crime

HYDERABAD: It was the fear of being exposed for stealing a mobile phone that prompted a woman to burn her niece, Sujatha (7), to death in Venkatagiri locality, police said on Friday.

The woman, Padma, who is in police custody now, confessed to the gruesome act as she was afraid that the girl could expose her, as she had identified the mobile which belonged to her grandmother. She had stolen the phone in a relative’s house, Divsional ACP V. Ramakrishnaiah, told reporters.

He said Padma (18), a native of Makthal in Mahbubnagar district, had an illicit relationship with Srinivas of the same village and used the phone to talk to him.

Padma and her husband Venkatesh were invited to a family get-together by a close relative, Laxmi, a few weeks ago and she stole the phone then.

Her niece Sujatha who came from the village to her grandmother’s house identified the mobile phone belonging to her grandmother in Padma’s house. Worried about the possibility of the theft being exposed and also fearing that her illicit relationship would come to light, Padma decided to kill the child, police said.

“She blindfolded the girl, tied her limbs with a plastic wire, doused her with kerosene and set her afire,” the police said.