KARNATAKA

Yadgir police claim to have cracked murder case

Special Correspondent

Four arrested for poisoning seven neighbours

YADGIR: In a major breakthrough, the Yadgir police have arrested four persons from a family, including two women, in connection with the gruesome death of seven persons after they consumed puffed rice, called “susla”, on November 16 last year at Konkal village in Shahapur taluk.

Superintendent of Police D. Roopa, who identified the arrested persons as Mallamma M. Balur; her son, Hanumanthappa M.; his wife, Devamma Hanumanthappa; and Ramesh M., his brother, said the accused were arrested on Monday evening and produced before the Judicial First Class Magistrate at Shahapur town and then remanded in judicial custody till March 9.

She said the case was being treated as a murder case and all the four had been charged accordingly under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code, among others. The seven persons who died were Basamma S. Kavali, Thippamma Basavarajappa, Thayamma Venkappa, Siriamma Venkappa, Mariamma Venkappa, Mariappa Venkappa and D. Marilingappa.

Initially, the police had registered a case of unnatural death and questioned several persons, including the four who have been arrested. Samples of viscera collected from the deceased were sent to the Forensic Science Laboratory for testing, and the reports confirmed death by poisoning.

Based on the findings of the FSL, the police once again questioned many suspects and zeroed in on the four.

Ms. Roopa said the four were running a small retail outlet near the house of the victims, and it was from their shop that the puffed rice was purchased.

According to the First Information Report filed by the police, the accused had conspired to wipe out the entire family by mixing pesticide in the puffed rice. This was apparently done to claim the “hidden treasure inside the house of the victims”.

She said the investigation revealed that the accused had made several attempts to purchase the house where the victims were residing and had also made an attempt to get one of their sons married to a daughter of Basamma S. Kavali.

However, all their attempts failed. Ms. Roopa said that a few months ago, both families had quarrelled over a petty issue and a case was registered in the local police station. The issue was settled amicably later.

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