Chargesheet filed in Uthra murder case

The Kollam Crime Branch (Rural police) 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 the Indian Penal Code for murder, attempt to murder and destruction of evidence. A rare and first in the history of Kerala, scientific and circumstantial evidence bear considerable significance in the case. While Deputy Superintendent of Police A. Ashokan led the investigation, G. Mohanraj has been appointed 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.

“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 that 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 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.

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