T. Padmanabha, retired forensic specialist, who reviewed his initial report which stated that the death of 22-year-old Anita was because of consumption of a pesticide, said on Friday that the death was because of consumption of cyanide.

Anita is among the 20 women allegedly murdered by Mohan Kumar, a teacher.

Deposing before the Fast Track Sessions Court here, Mr. Padmanabha said that he conducted the post-mortem and gave a report on June 26, 2009, stating that her death was because of consumption of a pesticide containing organophosphorous compound.

Six months later, the Assistant Superintendent of Police (Puttur Subdivision) asked Mr. Padmanabha to give further opinion on the cause of the death.

“I went through the records and found that the death could have also occurred because of consumption of cyanide. Accordingly, I submitted further findings to the police,” Mr. Padmanabha said.

The initial findings, Mr. Padmanabha said, were based on the probability of death resulting from consumption of a pesticide, which was common among most of the deaths of unidentified persons.

The police had not identified Anita and had not given any history about her death at the time of conducting the post-mortem. It was based on the smell of the liquid detected in Anita's stomach that he initially concluded that the death could have resulted from consumption of a pesticide, he said.

During cross examination by Mohan Kumar, Mr. Padmanabha said each poisonous compound had different smell. The pesticide containing organophosphorous compound would have kerosene-like smell, while cyanide gave a sweet smell. If there was a combination of cyanide and pesticide, the smell would be sweetish and the pesticide would turn into an oily substance. “Hence, in my further opinion I said that she had consumed cyanide in addition to the pesticide,” he said.

Mr. Padmanabha said as he was sure about his findings he did not feel the need to send viscera to the Forensic Science Laboratory and confirm the exact poisonous compound leading to Anita's death. He said there was no need to conduct tests afresh when the police asked for further opinion. Mr. Padmanabha denied that he reviewed his initial findings under pressure from the police. He said that he could not test about the possibility of a sexual intercourse before the death as Anita's body was in a highly decomposed state.

Police Sub-Inspector A.T. Bhanu and constable Ramegowda gave their statements about finding the body of a 25-year-old woman in the women's toilet in Hassan KSRTC bus-stand on June 18, 2009.