Kerala

Chargesheet filed in Uthra murder case

Kollam Crime Branch (Rural Police) has filed a 1,000-page chargesheet in the Uthra murder case before the Punalur Chief Judicial Magistrate Court here on Friday.

Sooraj, Uthra’s husband and prime accused in the case, has been charged under various Sections of IPC for murder, attempt to murder and destruction of evidence. A rare and first in the history Kerala, scientific and circumstantial evidence bear considerable significance in the case. While Dy.SP A. Ashokan led the investigation, G. Mohanraj has been appointed as the special prosecutor for the case.

The investigating team had recreated the incident to ascertain that the snakebite was induced and not natural. The fang width in natural cases will be different from induced bites, a procedure usually followed by snake milkers for extracting the venom. Scientific evidence was also collected from a range of relevant sources ranging from local snake handlers to global experts.

“Though there is no eyewitness, approver and scientific evidence in the chargesheet will fortify the allegation,” said Mr. Mohanraj. According to experts who conducted the post mortem of the snake, the DNA of the same venomous reptile was found in the jar which Sooraj had used to keep the snake.

Since its outer skin, scales, fangs and hood were found intact, it was easy for the team to infer the reptile was a venomous cobra. Later, the DNA match turned out be another crucial piece of evidence.

Uthra’s body was found on May 7 at her home at Anchal and her parents had alleged foul play in the death of the 25-year-old. She had died due to snakebite and her family filed a case with the District Police Chief (Kollam Rural), alleging her husband Sooraj and his family planned the crime.

At the time of her death, she was recuperating after a similar incident in which she had sustained a snakebite on March 2 at her husband’s home in Adoor. Sooraj, later, confessed that he brought the snakes in a bottle and threw them over Uthra while she was asleep.

She was first bitten by a viper and then a cobra, both procured by Sooraj from a handler who later turned approver. During interrogation, the handler also revealed to officials that Sooraj had conspired to harm the investigating officers of the case.

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Printable version | Sep 29, 2020 4:09:47 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/chargesheet-filed-in-uthra-murder-case/article32356698.ece

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