Here are five murder cases that shook Kerala to its progressive core in the last decade

While popular television series often give us a portrayal into the dark mind of frail humans, we seem to forget that there are enough evidence for the real darkness is humans in our own Kerala
Sakha Kumari
Sakha Kumari

At times real life can be a lot grimmer than fiction. Real life involves poisoning, betrayal, torture, rape, and death. Recently the death of 52-year-old Shaka Kumari sent shock waves in Kerala. She was reportedly smothered and then electrocuted by her 28-year-old husband Arun.

The newlyweds have apparently been arguing over various matters for some time now, right from people taking frequent digs at the age gap to Shaka’s desire to have children. While at first Arun tried to cover up his tracks by stating that Shaka’s death was an accident, he later admitted to the police that he had electrocuted his wife at their home at Karakonam. Shaka’s family said that he had an eye on her property and that could be a reason for the murder.

Over the last few years, Kerala has been witness to quite a few gruesome murders. The NationWide takes a look at some of those that grabbed headlines.

Uthara case
Uthara case

The murder weapon slithered away

On May 7, 2020, Uthara, a 25-year-old woman died of snakebite while she was asleep at her parents’ home in Anchal, Kollam. A probe was launched when her father cried foul play. It was soon revealed that Sooraj, Uthara’s husband, had purchased the snake and had released it in the bedroom with the intention of killing his wife. This is isn’t the first time that Sooraj had used a creepy crawler to end his wife.

Sooraj had allegedly been conspiring to kill his wife for a while, but his first attempt on March 2 using a viper at his house in Adoor had failed. The combination of the two incidents caused police to suspect Sooraj's involvement in the case. Uthara’s parents claim that Sooraj feared he would have to return the gold and other things the family had given him, if he filed for divorce. To the Malayali community that had grown up on the homegrown soap operas, the reason was as natural as it could be.

Cyanide Jolly
Cyanide Jolly

The Black Widow

There is no point for guessing this, as it is evident from the place name. Death seemed to have been stalking the members of a family in the Koodathai village of Kozhikode for 14 years as six members of the Ponnamattom family suffered mysterious deaths between 2002 and 2016.

It started with Annamma Thomas who died after drinking a bowl of mutton soup. Six years later, Annamma’s husband, Tom Thomas, also passed away. Six years later, their son Roy Thomas — who was married to Jolly Joseph — allegedly committed suicide due to a financial crisis. Three years later, Mathew Manjayadil, Annamma’s brother died after drinking a cup of coffee. A month later, Roy Thomas’ cousin Shaju Zachariah’s two-year-old daughter Alphine Shaju, died after “choking on food”. In 2016, Alphine’s mother Sily Shaju died allegedly after having a glass of water. All these murders had a common link — Jolly, who was present at every incident.

In June 2019, Rojo Thomas, Jolly’s brother-in-law, filed a police complaint, as he did not believe Roy had committed suicide. He also wanted an investigation into a will allegedly prepared by his father in 2008, which transferred ownership of the family home and a part of the land to Jolly. When she was eventually confronted with the evidence by the Kozhikode Police, she allegedly confessed, admitting to poisoning all victims with cyanide. According to reports, she did the act to gain control over the family property. She even has a series after her crimes. Talk about true crime documentary materials!

Cadelli Jeanson Raja
Cadelli Jeanson Raja

Satan worship

In a case that shocked the entire state, a 30-year-old killed four members of his family. Cadell Jeanson Raja not only murdered his 70-year-old relative Lalitha, but also his father A Raja Thangam, his mother C Jean Padma, and his sister Carolyn as well. He hacked his family to death with an axe he had purchased online and set their bodies on fire using petrol.

When neighbours noticed smoke coming out of the house, they informed the police, who discovered partly charred bodies. Cadell, who fled the murder scene, was later spotted at the Thampanoor railway station and was arrested by the Railway Police Force. According to the police, Cadell told them that he was a Satan worshipper and that he sacrificed the lives of his family members as part of an attempt at astral projection. The house he lived in is shrouded with mystery as well, as none of the relatives or maids were allowed to step into the first floor of the residence. The windows were always shut and the house was always engulfed in darkness. The Conjuring universe can maybe use this as a reference for their next production.

Jisha
Jisha

Justice, your honour

Jisha, a 30-year-old Dalit law student, was found raped and murdered at her house in Kuruppampadi on April 28, 2016. Jisha’s body was also mutilated by multiple stab wounds including at her genitals.

The police investigation into the crime took many twists and turns, with investigative teams being changed due to the pressure for a breakthrough in the case grew louder. However, a black rubber slipper found near the scene of the crime finally led to the police arresting Ameerul Islam — a migrant worker from Assam — from Kancheepuram in the neighbouring Tamil Nadu. Ameerul admitted to committing the gruesome murder. Police discovered that the crime was motivated by a previous grudge and that it was committed under the influence of alcohol.

Govindachami and Soumya
Govindachami and Soumya

Murder on a passenger train

Soumya, a 23-year-old salesgirl, was returning home by Ernakulam-Shoranur passenger train on February 1, 2011, when a man, Govindachami, entered the ladies’ compartment. This man would assault and rape Soumya in the empty ladies coach and subsequently pushed off the train. She later succumbed to injuries.

A pastor, travelling in the next compartment, gave his statement to the police and it led the officers to Govindachami. Although he and his fellow travellers heard Soumya’s screams, the pastor was dissuaded from pulling the train’s emergency chain by the rest. Talk about a civil society! He was the only passenger to notice the one-armed Govindachami enter Soumya’s compartment. His report led to Govindachami’s immediate arrest.

Although Govindachami was called a tramp, rumours of his link to the underworld spread when he was represented by a top criminal lawyer. According to the police, Govindachami was a habitual offender. His latest pictures have brought criticism to the police, asking why the government is spending so much money on a rapist. Govindachami is often the poster boy in the rally cry for ‘hanging the rapists’.

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