Four crimes, one common thread Sex, lies and inhumanity

By M.K. Ashoka Bengaluru, June 3 : From the sensational murder of Neeraj Grover, a TV executive in Mumbai, by a Kannada film actress, to the Apoorva Puranik case that sparked rants of 'love jihad', as crimes of passion turn more horrific and bestial, Karnataka hurtles from one shock to another. * Kannada film actress turns cold-blood killer Maria Susairaj and her boyfriend Lieutenant Emile Jerome Mathew were accused of killing Neeraj Grover in Mumbai. They took the body to the kitchen and chopped it into pieces. The body parts were stuffed into plastic bags and the two perpetrators disposed of the bags by pouring petrol upon them and setting them on fire in a jungle near Mumbai. The family of Grover suspected the role of Susairaj and she spilt the beans during interrogation after maintaining for 10 days that she was innocent. Later, the police also nabbed her boyfriend Mathew. The case, which took place in May 2008, is still afresh in public memory. The people of Karnataka were shocked to learn about the involvement of a small-town woman who had acted in many Kannada films in such a heinous crime. * Victim survives horrific attack, but scarred forever Apoorva Ananth Puranik alias Arfa Banu is coming to terms with her life after surviving the most brutal attack the state had witnessed. She was stabbed and assaulted 23 times with a machete by her husband in broad daylight. The accused had fearlessly walked into the residential area where the victim lived, found her at a park and unleashed horror on her. She had to bear the brutality because she had applied for divorce after finding that the accused, her husband, is married with three kids. The victim had appealed to people through a video not to violate their parents' wishes when it comes to marriage. The chilling incident, which came to light in March 2022, shook the state and raised debate on love jihad. According to police, 26-year-old Apoorva, a fatherless Brahmin girl had decided to get separated from her husband Mohammad Ejaz Shiroor (30) after finding out that he was already married and had three children. She had moved to her parent's house with her son four months ago. The accused had attacked her in the park with a machete 23 times on her head, shoulders, face, and hands in broad daylight. He escaped from the spot later. Hindu organisations alleged that it is a case of love jihad, the accused had planned to trap her after studying her family background. The police should not only arrest the accused but they have to investigate the network of trapping Hindu girls, they demanded. Apoorva, a graduate and only daughter of the family, got introduced to accused Ejaz Shiroor when she was studying. He was an auto driver. Both liked each other and got married in 2018. Ejaz Shiroor never told her that he was married and had three kids. Apoorva later got converted to Islam. Her family had also accepted their marriage and maintained a cordial relationship with Ejaz Shiroor's family. Apoorva had a son out of wedlock. Meanwhile, after she got to know about Ejaz Shiroor's first wife and three kids, discord cropped up between them. The accused started to force her to wear the burqa, cook non-vegetarian food, follow traditions of Islam and completely abandon Hindu rituals, which Apoorva continued even after marriage. Not being able to take the torture, Apoorva moved to her mother's place and filed a divorce petition before the family court. Even after this, the accused threatened her to follow Islam religion as she had married him. The victim had also told police that while going to the college, the accused who befriended her had sexually assaulted her and recorded a video of the act. Then, he blackmailed and compelled her to marry him. The police arrested the accused and initiated legal action against the accused husband. They are also probing the love jihad angle in the case. * From dating site to death Archana Diman, an air hostess from Himachal Pradesh, visited her boyfriend in Bengaluru in March 2023 and was found dead after jumping from an apartment. The police were shocked to know that her boyfriend Adesh, a techie from Kerala, who gave them a call turned out to be the murderer. Archana met the accused on a dating site and they were in a close relationship for about six months. Police found that the victim had given a warning to him that if he is not marrying her, she would lodge a sexual abuse case against him. In a cold-blooded act, accused Adesh had allegedly pushed Archana down from the balcony after partying with her and projected it to be an accidental fall. Archana had flown to Bengaluru from Dubai to meet the accused and on the same day, she lost her life. * 10-year-old exposes killer mother and grandmother Raghavendra N., a resident of Karenahalli, was found dead in Doddaballapur city of Karnataka in December 2021. His wife Shylaja claimed that the deceased suffered a head injury due to epilepsy and died. Later, her 10-year-old son revealed the role of Shylaja and her mother, 50-year-old Lakshmidevamma. The boy had allegedly seen Lakshmidevamma pinning his father's legs while his mother sat on his back. Shylaja claimed that her paramour Hanumantha hit the victim with a rolling pin until he died. The boy was beaten up and threatened to be killed by the accused if he reveals the incident. However, the boy explained everything to the police leading to the arrest of the accused. Shylaja, a mother of two children, allegedly had an affair and her mother Lakshmidevamma, who disliked her son-in-law, not only encouraged her but played a major role in the murder. /IANS


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