ANDHRA PRADESH

Police start from the scratch

The body was lying on its back. It was found with trousers and without shirt and footwear. Curious onlookers gathered as news spread about the finding of an unidentified body at an isolated place in Czech Colony on October 4.

By the time the Sanathnagar police reached the spot, the victim had been identified as Srinivas (35), a mason, who came to the house of his father-in-law, Yellaiah, on the eve of Dasara.

A native of Kollapur in Mahabubnagar district, Srinivas married Yellaiah's daughter, Guruvamma, of the same village nine years ago. Both the families came to the city in search of livelihood. While Yellaiah settled as watchman at an apartment block under construction in the colony, Srinivas was working as mason and living with his wife at Lingampally.

Ten days ago, he came to his in-laws house. Yellaiah and Guruvamma told the police that Srinivas left for work on October 3 morning and didn't return home. The next morning, they came to know that Srinivas was found murdered at an isolated place, about 300 yards away from their house. The body had injuries on head and upper jaw. Welt marks were also noticed all over the upper part.

Surprisingly, there were no struggle marks. It suggested that the body was dumped at the spot after killing him elsewhere. But why would any assailant take away the shirt and footwear? It was surely not a murder for gain, as his family members said that Srinivas never carried any valuables with him.

While the injuries on the head and jaw indicated that Srinivas was attacked with either bricks or boulders, welt marks hinted that he was severely beaten with sticks. Asked about any previous enmity, Guruvamma ruled out such possibilities. Where could have the murder taken place? And who are the culprits? These were the daunting questions faced by the police.

Even as the case appeared to be a complicated one, the watchful eyes of investigating officials noticed a welt mark on Guruvamma's waist. When questioned, Guruvamma brushed it aside saying she suffered an injury after slipping down on the ground. Not convinced, the police sent her to forensic doctors for examination. The mystery was disentangled when experts said a similar weapon caused injuries both on Guruvamma and the victim.

On further questioning based on the new evidence, Guruvamma let the cat out of the bag. She confessed that she and her father had beaten Srinivas to death on the night of October 4.

Quoting their confessional statement, police said that Srinivas returned home that night in an inebriated condition and started beating Guruvamma. When Yellaiah intervened, Srinivas picked up a pipe and attacked him. Enraged over his behaviour, Yellaiah snatched the pipe from his hands and attacked him, while Guruvamma hit him with bricks resulting in his instantaneous death. Later, the duo dumped the body near some bushes.

(Inspector, G.L. Hari Chander, Assistant Sub-Inspector, Quddoos, and Head Constable, Sattar, investigated the case.)