Category Archives: Murder

The Recent Incidence of Rape in Pungudutivu, Jaffna, Sri Lanka


Myself

By T.V. Antony Raj

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The incidents that happened over the last twelve days in Jaffna have been given ethnic and political hues by the media in Sri Lanka.

Pungudutivu (Tamil: புங்குடுதீவு) is an islet composed of a few villages, west of the Jaffna Peninsula in Sri Lanka.  The Dutch colonial rulers named the islet as “Middleburg” during their occupation of Ceylon.

In 1990, when Pungudutivu came under the control of the LTTE, the rich and the educated inhabitants left the islet for safety and greener pastures. Some shifted to Colombo while others left Sri Lanka.

After the Government forces recaptured Pungudutivu from the LTTE, about one third of its former inhabitants returned to the islet. Many found their abodes in a dilapidated state. As of now, this islet is a paradise for smugglers of Sri Lanka and South India. Many of them indulge in the lucrative trafficking of heroin.

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17-year-old Vidhya, the rape victim (Source: lankaenews.com)
17-year-old Vidhya, the rape victim (Source: lankaenews.com)

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On May 13, 2015, Sivayoganathan Vidhya, a 17-year-old Advance Level student of Pungudutivu Maha Vidyalayam did not return home after school. The worried family members contacted her school and her friends. They learned that Vidhya had not attended school that day.

The family members went to the police station to lodge a complaint. The police told the family to search for the girl on their own.  A policeman in a nonchalant manner blurted out a pithy stock and irresponsible rejoinder, “Don’t worry. She must have eloped with her lover. She will return in a few days.

The following morning, Vidhya’s brother went out searching for her. He followed the route she takes from school to her home. He found one of his sister’s slippers. From there, he followed the trail to a remote jungle area and found the mutilated corpse of his sister. It was a gruesome sight – her hands tied above her head with her school tie, her legs spread apart and tied to two trees, her mouth gagged with a piece of cloth.

Vidhya’s brother shouted and soon some residents gathered at the scene. Police arrived and sent the teenage girl’s corpse for postmortem examination.

According to the police reports, sometime ago, S. Saraswathi, the mother of the rape victim had witnessed a robbery committed in a doctor’s house by three brothers. After that, she had appeared at the courts and testified against them. Suspecting that they might have committed the sordid crime to avenge her, the police arrested the three brothers as suspects.

Based on the statements of the three brothers, the police arrested five others on the following day. One of them worked in the Pradeshiya Sabha office in the area and the other four employed in Colombo.

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Five of the 9 rapists (Source: 247latestnews.com)
Five of the 9 rapists (Source: 247latestnews.com)

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On the day of the incident, the five suspects had arrived in Pungudutivu from Colombo. After the gang rape and murder of Vidhya, they left for Colombo. They came again to Pungudutivu and attended Vidhya’s funeral. After the funeral, before they could return to Colombo the police arrested them.

The nine apprehended suspects revealed that a person named Mahalingam Sivakumar alias Kumar was the leader of their gang that raped, tortured and murdered the teenager. Sivakumar, a resident of Pungudutivu, a heroin baron and one who engages in other illegal activities is a Swiss national of Sri Lankan Tamil origin. He had recently returned to Sri Lanka from Switzerland.

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Mahalingam Sivakumar, the Pungudutheevu rapist. (Source: lankaenews.com)
Mahalingam Sivakumar, the Pungudutheevu rapist. (Source: lankaenews.com)

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That night, residents of Pungudutivu seized Mahalingam Sivakumar and tied him to a pillar. After venting their rage by humiliating him, they handed him over to the police. Hitherto, the police had not received any complaints against Mahalingam Sivakumar.

The deputy minister of women’s affairs for the area intervened for the release of Mahalingam Sivakumar.

According to the media, Dr. V.T. Tamilmaran, the Dean of the faculty of law at the Colombo University, is a relative of Mahalingam Sivakumar. Tamilmaran is one of those among the educated who left Pungudutivu earlier. Now, he aspires to contest the Pungudutivu electorate at the next election.

The website lankanews.com reports that that according to information seeping from within the police itself, and according to stories doing the rounds across the whole of the north, Dr. Tamilmaran approached his friend, the senior DIG Lalith Jayasinghe in charge of the North. He told the DIG that Mahalingam had returned only recently to Sri Lanka from Switzerland. He stressed that Mahalingam Sivakumar was innocent. Some sources say that the senior DIG Lalith Jayasinghe had reportedly taken a bribe of four million rupees to release Mahalingam Sivakumar, the prime suspect.

Some media sources say that Mahalingam Sivakumar, the prime suspect was set free by the police.

Some other media sources say that on the instructions of the senior DIG Lalith Jayasinghe, arrangements were made for Sivakumar to escape while taking him to the hospital for treatment for the wounds he had incurred when the residents of Pungudutivu seized and humiliated him. Sivakumar then fled to Colombo.

The people of the North were shocked, provoked, furious and enraged over the escape of the prime suspect even after the residents of Pungudtivu helped the police by apprehending and entrusting him to their custody.

Mahalingam Sivakumar rented a room in a lodge in Wellawatte, Colombo. The lodge owner noticing the bruises on Sivakumar’s body informed the Wellawatte police. So, on May 19, 2015, the police arrested Sivakumar the second time inadvertently and not through efforts initiated by them. If the lodge owner had not informed the police, the rapist-murderer would have escaped from Sri Lanka.

Some media reported that on May 19, 2015, the residents who were in an explosive and justifiable rage, held Dr. Tamilmaran, his London-based daughter who is in Sri Lanka on a holiday, and a few others as captives. They demanded that the police should apprehend the criminal Mahalingam Sivakumar immediately. About five and half hours later, the police informed the people that Sivakumar was in the custody of the Wellewatte police. Though the people did not trust the information, they nevertheless released Dr. Tamilmaran and others.

If we look at the other side of the story, Dr. V.T. Tamilmaran, told Ceylon Today that Pungudutivu  being his hometown, he had gone there to assess the situation over the brutal killing of Vidhya. He said:

“I am very much aware about the misconduct of one of the 10 suspects who returned from Switzerland. The suspect M. Kumar visited Pungudutivu on and off, and whenever he arrived there he created big problems to the people in the area. In fact I sought Police assistance in arresting the suspect. However, the guy had managed to escape while he was in the Police custody.”

Dr. Tamilmaran also added that when he attended a meeting on Tuesday, May 19, 2015, over the incident in Pungudutivu there were some men who were under the influence of liquor shouting in abusive language against him. He said that certain political elements were behind tarnishing his image following the recent speculation of his entry into politics. He also said that he was much disturbed over the incident in his village Pungudutivu , which had produced several eminent personalities in the field of education, and many leading businessmen in the country hailed from his village.

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Protesting students  (Source - Naangal Yaalpaanam on Facebook)
Protesting students (Source: Naangal Yaalpaanam on Facebook)

The news of the sordid crime spread among the people of the north like wildfire.

Students, teachers and staff of the nine schools in Poonguditheevu, the staff of the Department of Education, and the general public from all walks of life gathered on the grounds of the Maha Vidyalaya. There they staged a protest against the rape and killing of the 17-year-old student.

On May 21, 2015, the business community in the North staged a hartal to protest against the alleged rape and killing of the teenager. All shops in the North remained closed and people stayed away from their workplaces.

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Protesters gathered around the court house. (Source - icaruswept.com)
Protesters gathered around the court house. (Source – icaruswept.com)

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Protesters gathered  in the vicinity of the  Magistrate Court and the Police Station in Jaffna.

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The 8 arrested suspects brought to court (Source: 247latestnews.com)
The 8 arrested suspects brought to court (Source: 247latestnews.com)

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Out of anger and hate, people protested. Fearing the Police would let the suspects off the hook, the violent mob attempted to harm the eight arrested suspects while the police escorted them. The mob also attacked the police personnel who tried to save suspects from being assaulted.

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The protesters pelted the court premises with stones. . (Source: bbc.com)
The protesters pelted the court premises with stones. . (Source: bbc.com)

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When the protesters found that the main suspect Mahalingam Sivakumar was not brought to the  court, the mob turned restive and pelted the court premises with stones.

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Police fire tear gas shells to disperse Jaffna mob (Source - icaruswept.com)
Police fire teargas shells to disperse Jaffna mob (Source – icaruswept.com)

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The police responded by firing tear gas shells to disperse Jaffna mob. Around 130 suspects were remanded on charges of unlawful assembly and stoning the Jaffna Courts Complex.

On May 22, 2015, the Jaffna court issued an order banning all demonstrations in Jaffna. The order was issued to Janatha Balaya Organisation, Jaffna Women’s organization and Northern Provincial Councillor Anandi Shashidharan.

The media as usual focussed on the public protests rather than focussing on the reason behind it, namely rape.

 Mahalingam Sivarkumar, the main suspect  (Source: Naangal Yaalpaanam/Facebook))
Mahalingam Sivarkumar, the main suspect . (Source: Naangal Yaalpaanam/Facebook))

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There are suggestions that Mahalingam Sivakumar, the main suspect in the rape cum murder case, is well-connected as can be seen in the following photographs that I came across on Naangal Yaalpanam/Facebook.

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One of the rapists with former President Mahinda Rajapaksa. (Source: icaruswept.com)
One of the rapists with former President Mahinda Rajapaksa. (Source: icaruswept.com)

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The above photo circulated in the media of Mahalingam Sivakumar, posing with former Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse is morphed for political gains. In the original photograph, it was ‘Swiss Ranjan’ an opponent of the LTTE, now residing in Switzerland.

There is always a blessing that springs out of any adversity. Sri Lankans are now reacting to this incident not as Tamils, Sinhalese, Muslims, Burghers, or Malays, but as one people of a country unified in its disgust and horror on learning about the raping of the 17-year-old Tamil maiden.

On Friday, May 22, 2015, Wijedasa Rajapakshe, incumbent Minister of Justice shamed a racist media person in public by retorting:

… we’re not Tamil, Muslim or Sinhala, but simply human.”

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Reeva Steenkamp, the Model Killed by Oscar Pistorius


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Myself . By T.V. Antony Raj

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Reeva Steenkamp and Oscar Pistorius. (Photograph: Frennie Shivambu/EPA)
Reeva Steenkamp and Oscar Pistorius. (Photograph: Frennie Shivambu/EPA)

The 29-year-old Reeva Steenkamp, the glamorous South African model shot dead by her lover, the 27-year-old Oscar Pistorius was a fervent tweeter. She regularly tweeted about the “amazing” Pistorius, the globally admired double-amputee, who competed against able-bodied athletes at the 2012 Olympics in London.

One of the last tweets Reeva made had a tinge of romance:

What do you have up your sleeve for your love tomorrow??? #getexcited #ValentinesDay“.

A few hours later on February 14, 2013, just before dawn broke, Reeva was lying dead in the bathroom of the celebrated athlete’s home in Pretoria. Reeva was killed when Oscar Pistorius fired four times through a locked toilet door in his house. Oscar claimed he thought she was an intruder.

Reeva Steenkamp
Reeva Steenkamp

Born on August 19, 1983, in Cape Town, Reeva Steenkamp spent her early years on a farm near the city. Her father was a racehorse trainer.

Later on, when her family moved south to Port Elizabeth, Reeva attended a Catholic school.

As her parents did not have the means to pay the fees for her college, her studies at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University were covered by fellowships. Reeva graduated with a degree in law and dreamt of setting up a shelter for abused women.

June and Barry Steenkamp, parents of  Reeva Steenkamp, on the beach at Maitland near Port Elizabeth
June and Barry Steenkamp, parents of Reeva Steenkamp, on the beach at Maitland near Port Elizabeth

Later, after her death Reeva’s parents said:

“Reeva, who held such a passion for women’s abuse issues and frequently spoke out against domestic violence, intended to one day open an establishment where abused women would be cared for.”

Reeva moved to Johannesburg after her graduation to pursue a career in modelling. She modelled in commercials for the Japanese car manufacturer Toyota, Italian fashion brand Zui and for the online jewelry retailer Sivana Diamonds. She was chosen to be the face of Avo Cosmetics. She also worked as a presenter for Fashion TV South Africa.

In 2011 and 2012, the FHM magazine named Reeva Steenkamp as one of the 100 Sexiest Women in the World.

Reeva’s last television appearance was on the South African celebrity reality show “Tropika Island of Treasure,” aired a few days after her death.

On September 12, 2014, Oscar Pistorius was convicted of culpable homicide.

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Police Arrest Actress Shruti Chandralekha for Murdering Her Live-in Partner


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

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On May 12, 2014, the officials of the Tirunelveli City Police and the District Revenue Department of Tirunelveli assembled at a spot in Asirvatha Nagar in Palayamkottai, Tamilnadu, India, and exhumed the body of a 36-year-old mechanical engineer and a film financier who was reported missing since January 2014.

Ronald Peter Prinzo
Ronald Peter Prinzo

According to the Police, Ronald Peter Prinzo, the deceased, hailed from Parapadi village in Nanguneri Taluk, Tirunelveli District, in Tamilnadu, India. He was married and had two sons.

Uma Chandran
Uma Chandran

Prinzo along with his friend Uma Chandran of Palayamkottai ran computer centers in many towns including Tenkasi, Alankulam, and Pavoor Chathiram. When the computer centers ran at a loss, Prinzo left for Kolkata. There he earned a good deal of money from various ventures. He then came to Chennai and started an online trading business. His friend Uma Chandran joined him as the partner and invested money in Prinzo’s online trading business.

After leasing a house in V.R.S. Nagar First Street, in Maduravoyal, West of Chennai, Prinzo traveled once a month to Tirunelveli to see his family.

Prinzo also financed Tamil films and had acted in a couple of them. Even though the two movies were never released, he got acquainted with many people in the cine field.

Shruti Chandralekha (Source: timesofindia.indiatimes.com)
Shruti Chandralekha (Source: timesofindia.indiatimes.com)

In 2012, he met the gentle, soft-spoken, 22-year-old Shruti Chandralekha, a married budding actress from Bengaluru, at a film shoot in Salem.

Shruti had acted in minor roles in some Tamil and Kannada films. She had gotten married when she was 16 to a person named Manjunath. But after a few years she left her husband and started acting in minor roles in Kannada and Tamil films.

Shruthi moved into Prinzo’s residence as his live-in partner.

After a few months, Prinzo started bringing many other women to his house for his carnal pleasure. This infuriated Shruthi and she quarrelled with him constantly.

The online trading failed. Prinzo’s business partner, Uma Chandran asked him to return the money he had invested. But Prinzo refused to pay him. After that Uma Chandran constantly pestered Prinzo for the money.

Prinzo forced Shruti into prostitution. He decided to make porn movies and relentlessly pressurized Shruti to take part in group sex in the porn films. He also started bringing many other women to his house for his carnal pleasure. This infuriated Shruthi and she quarrelled with him constantly.

An enraged Uma Chandran waited patiently for a chance to avenge Prinzo. He then came to know that Prinzo and Shruti were not getting along well. He and some of his friends met with Shruti and hatched a plot to murder Prinzo.

On the night of January 18, 2014, when Prinzo came home, Shruti gave him poisoned milk to drink while being intimate with him.

After the poison took effect, Uma Chandran, John Prinson, and their friends from Tirunelveli – Honest Raj alias Saddam, Gandhimathinathan alias Vijay, Vijay, Rafiq Usman, Vinoth Nirmal Singh and Elisa – entered the house and strangled Prinzo with nylon rope.

Shruti and the murderers reportedly took rupees 75 lakh in cash, a Volkswagen Polo car, and other valuables from Prinzo and shared the booty.

They took the body in a car all the way from Maduravoyal to Maharajanagar in Palayamkottai and buried the body in an already dug up deep trench in a vacant plot in Asirvatham Nagar.

A fortnight later, on February 1, 2014, Shruti lodged a complaint with the Maduravoyal police saying that her ‘husband’ Prinzo was missing since January 18, 2014.

Justin, brother of Ronald Peter Prinzo
Justin, brother of Ronald Peter Prinzo

On April 12, 2014, Justin Prinzo, elder brother of Ronald Prinzo lodged a similar complaint at the Palayamkottai Police Station about his missing younger brother.

On May 10, while returning to Tirunelveli from Chennai, Justin saw his brother’s car in Madurai. When he intercepted it, he found John Prinson driving it. When Justin asked about his brother Prinson gave contradictory answers and said Prinzo had gone to Calcutta. Not satisfied, Justin informed the police about Prinzon driving his missing brother’s car.

The Maduravoyal police picked up Prinson and he confessed to the crime.

By the time the police arrived, Shruti and Uma Chandran absconded. The police arrested Uma Chandran’s accomplices Sadam, Vijay, Rafeeq and Vinoth.

Umachandran's accomplices showing the spot where they buried  the body of Ronald Peter Prinzo.
Uma Chandran’s accomplices showing the spot where they buried the body of Ronald Peter Prinzo.

On May 12, 2014, Prinzo’s body was exhumed after Uma Chandran’s accomplices showed the officials of the Tirunelveli City Police and the District Revenue Department of Tirunelveli the spot where they buried the dead body. A post-mortem was conducted on the recovered remnants of Prinzo’s decomposed dead body.

In the meantime, Maduravoyal police received information that Shruti was taking part in a shooting of a Tamil film at Mahabalipuram. Before the police arrived, Shruti took off from the shooting venue along with her new paramour Uma Chandran and his aide Vinoth Nirmal.

The police then received a tip-off that she was hiding in the house of a relative in Bengaluru. But again, she escaped to Hyderabad. Shruti and Uma Chandran confounded the police by skipping from one place to another.

Eventually, on Thursday, September 4, 2014, Chennai police apprehended Shruti in Bengaluru. Shruti was produced before a court and remanded.

The hunt is now on to nab Uma Chandran, the prime accused, and his aide Vinoth Nirmal.

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The Passion Narrative


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Myself

By T. V. Antony Raj
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The Conspiracy against Jesus

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The Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread were to take place in two days’ time. So the chief priests and the scribes were seeking a way to arrest him by treachery and put him to death.

They said, “Not during the festival, for fear that there may be a riot among the people.”

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The Anointing at Bethany

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When he was in Bethany reclining at table in the house of Simon the leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of perfumed oil, costly genuine spikenard. She broke the alabaster jar and poured it on his head.

There were some who were indignant. “Why has there been this waste of perfumed oil? It could have been sold for more than three hundred days’ wages and the money given to the poor.” They were infuriated with her.

Jesus said, “Let her alone. Why do you make trouble for her? She has done a good thing for me. The poor you will always have with you, and whenever you wish you can do good to them, but you will not always have me. She has done what she could. She has anticipated anointing my body for burial. Amen, I say to you, wherever the gospel is proclaimed to the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.”

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The Betrayal by Judas

The Pact of Judas by Duccio di Buoninsegna c 1308-11

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Then Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve, went off to the chief priests to hand him over to them. When they heard him they were pleased and promised to pay him money. Then he looked for an opportunity to hand him over.

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Preparations for the Passover

Follow the man with the pitcher by James Tissot

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On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, when they sacrificed the Passover lamb, his disciples said to him, “Where do you want us to go and prepare for you to eat the Passover?”

He sent two of his disciples and said to them, “Go into the city and a man will meet you, carrying a jar of water. Follow him. Wherever he enters, say to the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says, “Where is my guest room where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?”’ Then he will show you a large upper room furnished and ready. Make the preparations for us there.”

The disciples then went off, entered the city, and found it just as he had told them; and they prepared the Passover.

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The Betrayer

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When it was evening, he came with the Twelve. And as they reclined at table and were eating, Jesus said, “Amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me, one who is eating with me.”

They began to be distressed and to say to him, one by one, “Surely it is not I?”

He said to them, “One of the Twelve, the one who dips with me into the dish. For the Son of Man indeed goes, as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed. It would be better for that man if he had never been born.”

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The Lord’s Supper

The Last Supper by Pascal Dagnan-Bouveret (1896)

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While they were eating, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, and said, “Take it; this is my body.”

Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, and they all drank from it. He said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed for many. Amen, I say to you, I shall not drink again the fruit of the vine until the day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”

Then, after singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

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Peter’s Denial Foretold

Thou shalt deny me thrice – a side view of the 3-D sculpture on one of the walls in the church of St Peter in Gallicantu, built over the site of the house of the high priest Caiaphas where the apostle Peter denied the Lord Jesus Christ three times.

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Then Jesus said to them, “All of you will have your faith shaken, for it is written: ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be dispersed.’ But after I have been raised up, I shall go before you to Galilee.”

Peter said to him, “Even though all should have their faith shaken, mine will not be.”

Then Jesus said to him, “Amen, I say to you, this very night before the cock crows twice you will deny me three times.”

But he vehemently replied, “Even though I should have to die with you, I will not deny you.” And they all spoke similarly.

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The Agony in the Garden

“Could you not keep watch for one hour” by James Tissot

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Then they came to a place named Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.”

He took with him Peter, James, and John, and began to be troubled and distressed. Then he said to them, “My soul is sorrowful even to death. Remain here and keep watch.”

He advanced a little and fell to the ground and prayed that if it were possible the hour might pass by him; he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible to you. Take this cup away from me, but not what I will but what you will.”

When he returned he found them asleep. He said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour? Watch and pray that you may not undergo the test. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.”

Withdrawing again, he prayed, saying the same thing.

Then he returned once more and found them asleep, for they could not keep their eyes open and did not know what to answer him.

He returned a third time and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? It is enough. The hour has come. Behold, the Son of Man is to be handed over to sinners. Get up, let us go. See, my betrayer is at hand.”

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The Betrayal and Arrest of Jesus

The Kiss of Judas by James Tissot

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Then, while he was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived, accompanied by a crowd with swords and clubs who had come from the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders. His betrayer had arranged a signal with them, saying, “The man I shall kiss is the one; arrest him and lead him away securely.”

He came and immediately went over to him and said, “Rabbi.” And he kissed him.

At this, they laid hands on him and arrested him. One of the bystanders drew his sword, struck the high priest’s servant, and cut off his ear.

Jesus said to them in reply, “Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs, to seize me? Day after day I was with you teaching in the temple area, yet you did not arrest me; but that the scriptures may be fulfilled.”

And they all left him and fled.

Now a young man followed him wearing nothing but a linen cloth about his body. They seized him, but he left the cloth behind and ran off naked.

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Jesus before the Sanhedrin

Jesus Before the Sanhedrin by William Brassey Hole

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They led Jesus away to the high priest, and all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes came together.

Peter followed him at a distance into the high priest’s courtyard and was seated with the guards, warming himself at the fire.

The chief priests and the entire Sanhedrin kept trying to obtain testimony against Jesus in order to put him to death, but they found none.

Many gave false witness against him, but their testimony did not agree.

Some took the stand and testified falsely against him, alleging, “We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this temple made with hands and within three days I will build another not made with hands.’”

Even so, their testimony did not agree.

The high priest rose before the assembly and questioned Jesus, saying, “Have you no answer? What are these men testifying against you?”

But he was silent and answered nothing.

Again the high priest asked him and said to him, “Are you the Messiah, the son of the Blessed One?”

Then Jesus answered, “I am; and ‘you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Power and coming with the clouds of heaven.’”

At that, the high priest tore his garments and said, “What further need have we of witnesses? You have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?”

They all condemned him as deserving to die.

Some began to spit on him. They blindfolded him and struck him and said to him, “Prophesy!” And the guards greeted him with blows.

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Peter’s Denial of Jesus

Peter’s Denial by Carl Heinrich Bloch

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While Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the high priest’s maids came along. Seeing Peter warming himself, she looked intently at him and said, “You too were with the Nazarene, Jesus.”

But he denied it saying, “I neither know nor understand what you are talking about.”

So he went out into the outer court. [Then the cock crowed.]

The maid saw him and began again to say to the bystanders, “This man is one of them.”

Once again he denied it.

A little later the bystanders said to Peter once more, “Surely you are one of them; for you too are a Galilean.”

He began to curse and to swear, “I do not know this man about whom you are talking.”

And immediately a cock crowed a second time.

Then Peter remembered the word that Jesus had said to him, “Before the cock crows twice you will deny me three times.”

He broke down and wept.

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Jesus before Pilate

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As soon as morning came, the chief priests with the elders and the scribes, that is, the whole Sanhedrin, held a council. They bound Jesus, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate.

Pilate questioned him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”

He said to him in reply, “You say so.”

The chief priests accused him of many things.

Again Pilate questioned him, “Have you no answer? See how many things they accuse you of.”

Jesus gave him no further answer so that Pilate was amazed.

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The Sentence of Death

“Ecce Homo” by Antonio Ciseri c. 1880

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Now on the occasion of the feast, he used to release to them one prisoner whom they requested.

A man called Barabbas was then in prison along with the rebels who had committed murder in a rebellion. The crowd came forward and began to ask him to do for them as he was accustomed.

Pilate answered, “Do you want me to release to you the king of the Jews?” For he knew that it was out of envy that the chief priests had handed him over.

But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have him release Barabbas for them instead.

Pilate again said to them in reply, “Then what [do you want] me to do with [the man you call] the king of the Jews?

They shouted again, “Crucify him.”

Pilate said to them, “Why? What evil has he done?”

They only shouted the louder, “Crucify him.”

So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released Barabbas to them and after he had Jesus scourged, handed him over to be crucified.

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Mockery by the Roman Soldiers

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The soldiers led him away inside the palace, that is, the praetorium, and assembled the whole cohort. They clothed him in purple and, weaving a crown of thorns, placed it on him.

They began to salute him with, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and kept striking his head with a reed and spitting upon him.

They knelt before him in homage. And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the purple cloak, dressed him in his own clothes, and led him out to crucify him.

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The Way of the Cross

Simon of Cyrene helping Christ carry his cross

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They pressed into service a passer-by, Simon, a Cyrenian, who was coming in from the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to carry his cross.

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The Crucifixion

Calvary by Andrea Mantegna

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They brought him to the place of Golgotha (which is translated Place of the Skull).

They gave him wine drugged with myrrh, but he did not take it. Then they crucified him and divided his garments by casting lots for them to see what each should take.

It was nine o’clock in the morning when they crucified him.

The inscription of the charge against him read, “The King of the Jews.”

With him, they crucified two revolutionaries, one on his right and one on his left.

Those passing by reviled him, shaking their heads and saying, “Aha! You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself by coming down from the cross.”

Likewise, the chief priests, with the scribes, mocked him among themselves and said, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. Let the Messiah, the King of Israel, come down now from the cross that we may see and believe.”

Those who were crucified with him also kept abusing him.

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The Death of Jesus

View from the Cross – James Tissot

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At noon darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. And at three o’clock Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which is translated, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

Some of the bystanders who heard it said, “Look, he is calling Elijah.”

One of them ran, soaked a sponge with wine, put it on a reed, and gave it to him to drink, saying, “Wait, let us see if Elijah comes to take him down.”

Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last.

The veil of the sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom.

When the centurion who stood facing him saw how he breathed his last he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!”

There were also women looking on from a distance. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of the younger James and of Joses, and Salome. These women had followed him when he was in Galilee and ministered to him. There were also many other women who had come up with him to Jerusalem.

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The Burial of Jesus

Entombment by Benvenuto Tisi (or Il Garofalo) – 1520

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When it was already evening, since it was the day of preparation, the day before the sabbath, Joseph of Arimathea, a distinguished member of the council, who was himself awaiting the kingdom of God, came and courageously went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus.

Pilate was amazed that he was already dead. He summoned the centurion and asked him if Jesus had already died. And when he learned of it from the centurion, he gave the body to Joseph.

Having bought a linen cloth, he took him down, wrapped him in the linen cloth and laid him in a tomb that had been hewn out of the rock. Then he rolled a stone against the entrance to the tomb.

Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses watched where he was laid.

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The Resurrection of Jesus

Mary Magdalene find the tomb empty

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When the sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary, the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go and anoint him.

Very early when the sun had risen, on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb. They were saying to one another, “Who will roll back the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?”

When they looked up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back; it was very large.

On entering the tomb they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a white robe, and they were utterly amazed.

He said to them, “Do not be amazed! You seek Jesus of Nazareth, the crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Behold the place where they laid him. But go and tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him, as he told you.’”

Then they went out and fled from the tomb, seized with trembling and bewilderment. They said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.

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The Passion of the Lord


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Myself . 

By T.V. Antony Raj
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Jesus Arrested

When he had said this, Jesus went out with his disciples across the Kidron valley to where there was a garden, into which he and his disciples entered.

Judas his betrayer also knew the place, because Jesus had often met there with his disciples. So Judas got a band of soldiers and guards from the chief priests and the Pharisees and went there with lanterns, torches, and weapons.

Jesus, knowing everything that was going to happen to him, went out and said to them, “Whom are you looking for?”

They answered him, “Jesus the Nazorean.”

He said to them, “I AM.”

Judas his betrayer was also with them. When he said to them, “I AM,” they turned away and fell to the ground.

So he again asked them, “Whom are you looking for?”

They said, “Jesus the Nazorean.”

Jesus answered, “I told you that I AM. So if you are looking for me, let these men go.”

This was to fulfill what he had said, “I have not lost any of those you gave me.”

Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it, struck the high priest’s slave, and cut off his right ear. The slave’s name was Malchus.

Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword into its scabbard. Shall I not drink the cup that the Father gave me?”

So the band of soldiers, the tribune, and the Jewish guards seized Jesus, bound him, and brought him to Annas first. He was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was high priest that year. It was Caiaphas who had counseled the Jews that it was better that one man should die rather than the people.

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Peter’s Denial

Simon Peter and another disciple followed Jesus. Now the other disciple was known to the high priest, and he entered the courtyard of the high priest with Jesus. But Peter stood at the gate outside. So the other disciple, the acquaintance of the high priest, went out and spoke to the gatekeeper and brought Peter in.

Then the maid who was the gatekeeper said to Peter, “You are not one of this man’s disciples, are you?”

He said, “I am not.”

Now the slaves and the guards were standing around a charcoal fire that they had made, because it was cold, and were warming themselves. Peter was also standing there keeping warm.

The high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and about his doctrine.

Jesus answered him, “I have spoken publicly to the world. I have always taught in a synagogue or in the temple area where all the Jews gather, and in secret I have said nothing. Why ask me? Ask those who heard me what I said to them. They know what I said.”

When he had said this, one of the temple guards standing there struck Jesus and said, “Is this the way you answer the high priest?”

Jesus answered him, “If I have spoken wrongly, testify to the wrong; but if I have spoken rightly, why do you strike me?”

Then Annas sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.

Now Simon Peter was standing there keeping warm. And they said to him, “You are not one of his disciples, are you?”

He denied it and said, “I am not.”

One of the slaves of the high priest, a relative of the one whose ear Peter had cut off, said, “Didn’t I see you in the garden with him?”

Again Peter denied it. And immediately the cock crowed.

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The Trial before Pilate 

Then they brought Jesus from Caiaphas to the praetorium. It was morning. And they themselves did not enter the praetorium, in order not to be defiled so that they could eat the Passover.

So Pilate came out to them and said, “What charge do you bring [against] this man?”

They answered and said to him, “If he were not a criminal, we would not have handed him over to you.”

At this, Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves, and judge him according to your law.”

The Jews answered him, “We do not have the right to execute anyone,” in order that the word of Jesus might be fulfilled that he said indicating the kind of death he would die.

So Pilate went back into the praetorium and summoned Jesus and said to him, “Are you the King of the Jews?”

Jesus answered, “Do you say this on your own or have others told you about me?”

Pilate answered, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests handed you over to me. What have you done?”

Jesus answered, “My kingdom does not belong to this world. If my kingdom did belong to this world, my attendants [would] be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not here.”

So Pilate said to him, “Then you are a king?”

Jesus answered, “You say I am a king. For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”

Pilate said to him, “What is truth?”

When he had said this, he again went out to the Jews and said to them, “I find no guilt in him. But you have a custom that I release one prisoner to you at Passover.* Do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?”

They cried out again, “Not this one but Barabbas!”

Now Barabbas was a revolutionary.

Then Pilate took Jesus and had him scourged. And the soldiers wove a crown out of thorns and placed it on his head, and clothed him in a purple cloak, and they came to him and said, “Hail, King of the Jews!” And they struck him repeatedly.

Once more Pilate went out and said to them, “Look, I am bringing him out to you, so that you may know that I find no guilt in him.”

So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple cloak.

And he said to them, “Behold, the man!”

When the chief priests and the guards saw him they cried out, “Crucify him, crucify him!”

Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and crucify him. I find no guilt in him.”

The Jews answered, “We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God.”

Now when Pilate heard this statement, he became even more afraid, and went back into the praetorium and said to Jesus, “Where are you from?”

Jesus did not answer him.

So Pilate said to him, “Do you not speak to me? Do you not know that I have power to release you and I have power to crucify you?”

Jesus answered [him], “You would have no power over me if it had not been given to you from above. For this reason the one who handed me over to you has the greater sin.”

Consequently, Pilate tried to release him; but the Jews cried out, “If you release him, you are not a Friend of Caesar. Everyone who makes himself a king opposes Caesar.”

When Pilate heard these words he brought Jesus out and seated him on the judge’s bench in the place called Stone Pavement, in Hebrew, Gabbatha.

It was preparation day for Passover, and it was about noon. And he said to the Jews, “Behold, your king!”

They cried out, “Take him away, take him away! Crucify him!”

Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your king?”

The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.”

Then he handed him over to them to be crucified.

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The Crucifixion, Death and Burial of Jesus 

So they took Jesus, and carrying the cross himself he went out to what is called the Place of the Skull, in Hebrew, Golgotha.

There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, with Jesus in the middle.

Pilate also had an inscription written and put on the cross. It read, “Jesus the Nazorean, the King of the Jews.”

Now many of the Jews read this inscription, because the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek.

So the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, “Do not write ‘The King of the Jews,’ but that he said, ‘I am the King of the Jews.’”

Pilate answered, “What I have written, I have written.”

When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his clothes and divided them into four shares, a share for each soldier. They also took his tunic, but the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from the top down.

So they said to one another, “Let’s not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it will be,” in order that the passage of scripture might be fulfilled [that says]:

“They divided my garments among them,
and for my vesture they cast lots.”

This is what the soldiers did.

Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala.

When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.”

Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother.”

And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.

After this, aware that everything was now finished, in order that the scripture might be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I thirst.”

There was a vessel filled with common wine. So they put a sponge soaked in wine on a sprig of hyssop and put it up to his mouth.

When Jesus had taken the wine, he said, “It is finished.”

And bowing his head, he handed over the spirit.

Now since it was preparation day, in order that the bodies might not remain on the cross on the sabbath, for the sabbath day of that week was a solemn one, the Jews asked Pilate that their legs be broken and they be taken down.

So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and then of the other one who was crucified with Jesus. But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs, but one soldier thrust his lance into his side, and immediately blood and water flowed out.

An eyewitness has testified, and his testimony is true; he knows that he is speaking the truth, so that you also may [come to] believe. For this happened so that the scripture passage might be fulfilled:

“Not a bone of it will be broken.”

And again another passage says:

“They will look upon him whom they have pierced.

After this, Joseph of Arimathea, secretly a disciple of Jesus for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate if he could remove the body of Jesus. And Pilate permitted it. So he came and took his body.

Nicodemus, the one who had first come to him at night, also came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes weighing about one hundred pounds.

They took the body of Jesus and bound it with burial cloths along with the spices, according to the Jewish burial custom.

Now in the place where he had been crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had yet been buried.

So they laid Jesus there because of the Jewish preparation day; for the tomb was close by.

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The Passion of Our Lord enacted by Tiny-tots.
The Passion of Our Lord enacted by Tiny-tots.

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“Callgate” / “Kerala Solar Scam”: Part 4 – Scammers and Politicians


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Myself . By T.V. Antony Raj

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Many victims of the Solar scam did not dare to lodge complaints against the duo because most of them were laundering black money. Also, the victims were aware that the duo was being protected by some wielding power.

Though their business flourished, Saritha Nair’s relationship with Biju Radhkarishnan soured. Both suspected each other of having other affairs. In 2012, the couple decided to end their relationship and part ways.

In early June 2013, K.M. Sajjad, an industrialist from Kollam, filed a case against Team Solar. He had been cheated after having paid an advance of र40 lakh for setting up a solar and windmill farm.

On June 5, 2013, Perumbavoor police traced absconding Sarita Nair to a house at Edappazhanji, Thiruvananthapuram and arrested her for cheating.

Biju Radhakrishnan arrested (Source:  deccanchronicle.com)
Biju Radhakrishnan arrested (Source: deccanchronicle.com)

Deputy Superintendent of Police, Crime Branch (CID), C.G. Suresh Kumar investigated the Reshmi murder case. On June 17, 2013, police arrested Biju from Coimbatore for the murder of Reshmi. It is indeed a mystery how Biju contrived to escape from the police for more than seven years.

According to the charge sheet, the alleged murder was committed on the night of February 3, 2006. Biju after forcing Reshmi to drink liquor laced with poison dragged her to the toilet. His elder son born to Reshmi was an eyewitness to this act.

Case has been registered against Biju for murder, harassment of women, destroying of evidence and man handling of his elder son.

Biju’s mother Rajammal was also arrested and charged for harassment of women and helping her son to destroy evidence. She was let out on bail.

On the same day of Biju’s arrest, (June 17, 2013), the media reported that Yogi Nirmalanandagiri of Charamoodu in Alappuzha, made allegations against Sarita Nair and Biju Radhakishnan saying that they had extorted about र25 lakh from several people offering a gamut of promises.

In 2007, Biju had introduced himself to the yogi as a consultant and had told him that they could have obtained government welfare funds for the ashram if it had been registered as a trust. Biju had added that he would need र1.5 lakh to meet ministers in the capital for the release of funds to the ashram.

Next, the duo set up a centre named ‘Saffron Consultants and Event Management’ and distributed leaflets detailing their services.

On February 15, 2007, the ashram was registered as a trust.

The couple then took yogi Nirmalanandagiri to Thiruvananthapuram to invite Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, the Home minister, to attend the inaugural function of the trust. But they did not succeed in meeting the minister.

Biju stayed a day at the ashram. Later he and Saritha checked into a hotel at Kayamkulam. Biju conducted All India Trade Fairs in various places between Kayamkulam and Adoor. He would invariably disappear from the venue before the fair concluded. He would not even pay the hotel bill, the yogi said.

Yogi Nirmalanandagiri said he registered a complaint with the Kayamkulam and Chengannur DySPs. But, the police just ignored his plaint and did not investigate. Meanwhile, both the DySPs said there had been no complaints against Biju in 2007. “We would have taken up the case had there been any complaints in this regard”, they said.

Who is lying?

Scammers and Politicians

Jacob Mathews, the advocate of Biju Radhakrishnan.
Jacob Mathews, the advocate of Biju Radhakrishnan.

The sordid sex angle to the scandal was confirmed on November 22, 2013. The media reported that Jacob Mathew, the advocate of Biju Radhakrishnan had said that he has videos of 12 VIPs – politicians, ministers, IAS and IPS officers – sexually abusing Saritha Nair. The advocate asserted that he had many copies of the videos that Saritha herself had recorded using a pen camera, and the footage taken over from her by Biju Radhakrishnan. The advocate threatened to give the visuals of sexual abuse of Saritha Nair to the investigating officer in front of media as soon as he received a written permission from Biju Radhakrishnan, locked up in jail.

This irked many prominent leaders in Kerala. Jacob Mathew named union minister K.C. Venugopal, Kerala tourism minister A.P. Anilkumar, former minister K.B. Ganesh Kumar and Crime branch IG M.R. Ajithkumar.

Union minister of state for Civil Aviation and Energy K.C. Venugopal challenged the advocate’s statement and termed it as a conspiracy against him. He asked the advocate to release the tapes at the earliest. Though he claims he never helped Saritha Nair, records of late calls from Saritha to him have surfaced.

A.P. Anil Kumar has clarified that last year Saritha Nair had called him to invite him to inaugurate two of her offices at Kozhikhode and Malappuram.

Earlier, on April 1, 2013, the media reported that K.B. Ganesh Kumar, Kerala Minister for Forest, Sports and Cinema filed a divorce petition at the family court in Thiruvananthapuram. He alleged that his wife, accusing him of having illicit affairs with other women, physically assaulted him. Later, Biju claimed he had met the Chief Minister Oommen Chandy once for an hour-long discussion on Ganesh Kumar’s affair with Saritha Nair. However, the CM is still to reveal the details of the discussion that took place, but had said that Biju was referred to him by M.I. Shanavas, the Congress MP.

Crime branch IG M.R. Ajith Kumar told media that he will file a defamation suit against Jacob Mathew.

Home Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan issued a challenge to those having the videos to release them and not issue unfounded threats.

Names of UDF ministers such as: Revenue Minister Adoor Prakash, Aryadan Mohammed, KC Joseph, Shibhu Baby John, Home Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan, his private secretary V.K. Raveendran, and MLA Mons Joseph are some of the other names that have surfaced in Saritha’s call records. Some of the ministers have admitted that they have been in touch with her.

V.S. Achuthanandan, former Chief Minister of Kerala (Source: deccanchronicle.com)
V.S. Achuthanandan, former Chief Minister of Kerala (Source: deccanchronicle.com)

In Kerala, the Left Democratic Front (LDF) is also feeling the heat of the Solar Scam. Out of the many cases registered against Saritha Nair and Biju Radhakrishnan, 14 cases for cheating, involving र1.72 crore were registered from May 30, 2009 to April 16, 2011 when CPI(M)’s V.S. Achuthanandan was Chief Minister. Allegedly, Saritha’s clout in power circles was such that she even addressed one of the LDF ministers as ‘Uncle’ – who the ruling party alleges is none other than the then Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan.

N.V. Raju, the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate (Economic Offences) had given a statement to High court vigilance registrar S. Mohan Das that Saritha Nair told him when interrogated on July 20, 2013 that she was sexually abused by many people.

On November 12, 2013, Vigilance Registrar S. Mohan Das, in his report submitted to the Kerala high court, flayed ACJM for having failed to record Saritha’s statement on July 20th itself and has recommended action against the ACJM.

Reshmi Murder Case

Saritha Nair brought to court (Source: deccanchronicle.com)
Saritha Nair brought to court (Source: deccanchronicle.com)

Saritha Nair, the prime accused in the solar scam, when produced in the court during the Reshmi murder case, identified Biju Radhakrishnan.

On November 25, 2013, when produced before the Principal Sessions and District Court, Kollam, Saritha Nair wept and told that Biju blackmailed her with nude photos of her, and he also had nude photos of the murderred Reshmi.

Saritha said that while she and Biju were living together in Thiruvananthapuram, Biju had said that he had given “quotation” to kill Resmi.

When she asked Biju to register their marriage, he threatened her saying that it would take only “two minutes” to kill her. Biju had crushed her hands between doors, and landed blows on the back of her head. She wondered whether Reshmi might have been murdered in a similar way. She added that Biju had planned to kill her in a contrived car accident after he became intimate with the TV actress Shalu Menon.

Biju’s advocate while cross-examining Saritha asked her whether the stories she told were “mere speculation”. Saritha replied that they were what she personally experienced in her life.

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← PREVIOUS:  PART 3 – MURDER, MOVIE STARS, INTRIGUE, AND THE MOVIE

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“Callgate” / “Kerala Solar Scam”: Part 3 – Murder, Movie Stars, Intrigue, and the Movie.


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

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Reshmi Pillai (Source: mathrubhumi.com)
Reshmi Pillai (Source: mathrubhumi.com)

Reshmi was the youngest of the three daughters of LIC agent Parameshwaran Pillai and Saradamaniamma from Kollam. About 13 years ago, Reshmi, a B.Ed. student was staying at Biju Radhakrishnan’s house as a paying guest.

Biju Radhakrishnan, a hardcore criminal, loved money and women and wanted to become a billionaire. Biju, believing that he could become rich by marrying Reshmi, enticed her, and Reshmi succumbed to his charming ways.

In 2001, they eloped, but did not get legally married. Their relation soured when Reshmi realized Biju’s follies and Biju came to know that she was not as wealthy as he had believed. However, after some period she returned and started living with Biju.

Saritha S. Nair (Source: newindianexpress.com)
Saritha S. Nair (Source: newindianexpress.com)

Saritha S. Nair was born into a lower-middle-class family in Chengannur. At the age of 18, she married a Dubai-based NRI. After obtaining her B.Com degree, Saritha got a job at a private bank in Kozhencherry, where she cheated her employer of र2 lakh. Next, she joined a private firm where she came in contact with the already married Biju Radhakrishnan. They were intimate.

Reshmi opposed Biju’s relationship with Saritha. Very often Biju beat Reshmi and sometimes in front of their son. Not able to bear the blows, Reshmi left him and lived with her parents.

On February 4, 2006, Reshmi was found lying unconscious in the bathroom at Biju’s Kottarakkara house. She had head injuries. Biju assisted by his neighbours took her to a hospital. Biju claimed that she had hurt herself after slipping in the bathroom. Reshmi was declared dead on arrival. Relatives and neighbors were doubtful and did not believe that Reshmi committed suicide as she had two children to take care of.

Biju absconded after Reshmi’s death, and the Kottarakkara police registered five fraud cases against him. For the past seven years, the police and the crime branch were clueless about his whereabouts. Though he had committed huge frauds using fake names and addresses, not a single police person had seen him until the date of his arrest on June 17, 2013.

In 2007, after divorcing her husband, Saritha Nair lived with Biju Radhakrishnan.

The duo started their career in crime first by enticing people by providing loans at very low-interest rates. Next, they targeted businessmen needing large sums of money. Saritha would bait them by promising funds from abroad. Following the modus operandi of email scammers, Saritha would convince the victims that the loan would be sanctioned only after paying a service fee. After collecting around two to three lakh rupees, the duo would fade away.

In 2009, the police arrested the couple for cheating a resident of Kakkanad of र1.lakh after promising to install a windmill plant.

The duo began their career in crime first by enticing people by providing loans at very low-interest rates. Next, they targeted businessmen needing large sums of money. Saritha would bait them by promising funds from abroad. Following the modus operandi of email scammers, Saritha would convince the victims that the loan would be sanctioned only after paying a service fee. After collecting around two to three lakh rupees, the duo would fade away.

In 2009, the police arrested the couple for cheating a resident of Kakkanad of र1.lakh after promising to install a windmill plant.

In 2011, after their release, the couple moved their operation to Kochi, and launched Team Solar Renewable Energy Solutions aka The Team Solar Energy Company (Team Solar). They advertised Team Solar as “one of the world’s largest renewable energy groups.”

Needing political clout to exploit gullible people, Saritha cultivated contacts with the personal staff of politicians, including the personal aides of Kerala chief ministers. K C Joseph, present Minister for Rural Development, Planning&Culture of the Government of Kerala, inaugurated Saritha’s Kottayam office.

Starlets, sex, blackmail and murder formed the base of the duo’s Solar scam.

Shalu Menon

Shalu Menon
Shalu Menon

Shalu Menon, 30, a dancer-turned-television Malayalam actress, the granddaughter of a famous Kerala dancer, was the first actress involved in the Solar scam. Shalu’s role in the scam surfaced after an NRI businessman named Razik Ali filed a complaint that Biju Radhkarishnan and Shalu Menon had cheated him of र70 lakh by offering a non-existent franchise and a wind farm in Tamil Nadu.

Shalu Menon, Born into a middle-class family, was a familiar face in the cultural world of Kerala. She runs a chain of dance schools under the banner the Jayakerala School of Performing Arts, that boasts having more than 1,000 students. Acting in Malayalam films and TV serials since 1998, her social circle revolved around the rich, famous and powerful. Her political connections helped her earn a berth in the Kerala Censor Board.

Shalu Menon was arrested on July 5, 2013, as the third accused in the Solar scam.  (Source: newindianexpress.com)
Shalu Menon was arrested on July 5, 2013, as the third accused in the Solar scam. (Source: newindianexpress.com)

She was arrested on July 5, 2013, as the third accused in the Solar scam, and for committing an offence under IPC 212 for harbouring and helping the key
accused Biju Radhkarishnan to flee from the state of Kerala by giving him her car and mobile to use while escaping.

During interrogation by the police, Shalu Menon admitted to the links she had with Saritha Nair and Biju Radhkarishnan, the brains behind the scam. She told the police that Biju Radhkarishnan approached her requesting her to model for his company’s advertisements. Later, she became intimate with him.

Shalu Menon added that Saritha Nair too had approached her to learn dance at her school.

Biju had presented Shalu diamond, gold and silver ornaments, and had conveyed his intentions of marrying her. He had given her money to build a palatial house in Changanasserry, and she had helped Biju by enticing investors and politicians. Many politicians and VVIPs including Union minister Kodikkunnil Suresh and state Home Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan were embarrassed when videos and photographs littered the media showing them attending the house-warming ceremony of Shalu’s palatial bungalow and enjoying the tender coconuts.

On investigation it was revealed that Shalu was a frequent visitor to Biju’s office in Thiruvananthapuram. The police found documents, including cheques and vouchers signed by Shalu in the office. Biju’s employees told the police that Biju introduced Shalu as an executive director of the firm.

Swiss Solar employee Likhitha filed a case against Shalu Menon and Biju Radhakrishnan for duping her of lakhs of rupees. In February 2013 Biju introduced Shalu as the Executive Director of Swiss Solar Company and promised to appoint Likhitha as the CEO of the company. He offered her a salary of rupees one lakh. But the actual salary that Likhitha received was only र50,000 while Biju swindled her to the tune of र1.19 lakhs on the pretext of office expenses. Actually, Biju used this money to clear the dues of his clients.

The affidavit filed by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) at the court said that Shalu Menon is the third accused in the case, and an offence under IPC 212 for harbouring an accused has been charged against her.

Uthara Unni

Uthara Unni (Source: balconybeats.com)
Uthara Unni (Source: balconybeats.com)

In July 2013, the name of another Mollywood film actress, Uthara Unni, surfaced in connection with the Solar Scam. Speaking to a Kerala TV channel, actress Urmila Unni, mother of Uthara, denied reports that her daughter was Team Solar’s brand ambassador, but only had modeled for Team Solar’s advertisements. However, a Facebook page in the name of Uthara Unni had mentioned her as the brand ambassador of Team Solar.

The Ernakulam South Police registered a FIR against Saritha Nair and Biju Radhakrishnan following the complaint by a Kochi-based travel agency with regard to a bounced cheque for र1.73 lakh given by the scammers after booking air tickets to Chennai and New Delhi. Uthara Unni was one of the passengers for whom the air tickets were booked.

According to the Special Investigation Team (SIT) that carried out by the Investigation said the budding actress is not directly involved in the case. “She travelled with Biju Radhakrishnan and Saritha Nair to Chennai only for advertisement photo shoots and is not directly linked with the scam.”

Urmila Unni admitted that her daughter Uthara went to Chennai, where she is studying, on the ticket provided by Team Solar.

The police then wanted to question Uthara about her travel details to Dubai with Biju Radhakrishnan.

Muktha Bhanu

Muktha Elsa George
Muktha Elsa George

In mid July 2013, Mollywood actress Muktha Elsa George, popularly known as Muktha or Bhanu, said that she was cheated by Biju Radhakrishnan of Team Solar. According to her, Biju had approached her and promised to include her in the calendar photo shoot for Team Solar, as a replacement for Uthara Unni, who did not curry favour with his associates. She accepted rupees ten thousand as an advance from Biju Radhakrishnan for this assignment. She also said that Biju had offered a job for her sister in the solar office in Thiruvannathapuram, but was double crossed.

Solar Swapnam, The Movie

The notorious Solar scam scandal that stirred the political stability of Kerala has swayed the Malayalam film industry too. Now, an American Film Company named Dream World Productions has launched production of a movie titled “Solar Swapnam” directed by joy Antony and scripted by Raju George. K. Jayakumar has penned the lyrics for the film and Jayan Ezhuman Thuruthu has composed the music.

Actress Pooja will characterize Saritha S. Nair and bear the name Haritha S. Nair (Source: entertainment.oneindia.in)
Actress Pooja will characterize Saritha S. Nair and bear the name Haritha S. Nair (Source: entertainment.oneindia.in)

It is hoped that the movie Solar Swapnam would narrate the whole solar scam. Kollywood actress Pooja will characterize Saritha S. Nair and bear the name Haritha S. Nair. Kollywood actor Bhuvan will portray Biju Radhakrishnan. Kollywood actors Jananardhanan, Harisree Asokan, Nandhu, Mohan Roy, Sona Nair, P. Sreekumar and Aarthi Puri will act in significant roles in the movie.

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NEXT → PART 4 – Scammers and Politicians

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The Foul Murderers of Coimbatore Arrested


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Myself . By T.V. Antony Raj

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Murder Case

Two days ago, on December 4, 2013, I posted an article titled “Murders Most Foul in Coimbatore” about a missing 45-year-old woman named Ammasi from Sivananda Colony, Coimbatore.

It is alleged that Ammasi’s legal counsel E.T. Rajavel and his associates Palanisamy and Ponraj alias Ponnarasu murdered Ammasi on December 11, 2011, to fake the death of his wife Mohana, involved in a multi-crore financial fraud. Ammasi’s body was cremated in the morning of the following day at the Athupalam crematorium as Mohana’s body.

On November 30, 2013 a Police investigation revealed that lawyer Rajavel was behind the murder of his client Ammasi with the intention to usurp her property.

E.T. Rajavel (Source: newindianexpress.com)
E.T. Rajavel (Source: newindianexpress.com)

Mohana the ‘scammer’ and her lawyer husband Rajavel ‘the cheat’ were on the run after killing Ammasi.

Ammasi’s daughter 29-year-old Sakunthala lodged a complaint with the city police on December 3, 2013, seeking action against all involved in the murder of her mother.

Special Police teams scanned Chennai, Bengaluru, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala.

On December 1, 2013, the couple moved into a hotel in Egmore, Chennai, and later they moved to another hotel in T. Nagar. On December 3, the couple left their vehicle at that hotel, hired a taxi to travel to Kovalam in Thiruvananthapuram.

The police arrested one of Rajavel’s associates who came to the hotel to fetch Rajavel’s car. From him the police got mobile number of the taxi driver who took Rajavel and his wife to Kovalam.

K. Ramachandran, Assistant Commissioner – Law and Order (Coimbatore South) said:

“Immediately, we called up the driver and informed him that the couple travelling in his car were wanted in some cases in Coimbatore. Sensing that the driver had been alerted, the couple got down from the taxi and tried to escape in an auto. As the couple did not pay the driver, he chased them, and that was when the Kerala police caught the couple.”

 Ammasi’s daughter 29-year-old Sakunthala appealed to the advocates in Coimbatore to refrain from appearing on behalf of the corrupt lawyer Rajavel, who together with his associates murdered her mother.

The conduct of lawyer Rajavel, who faked the death of his wife, is considered by his fellow advocates, as a slur to the legal camaraderie.

Ms. M. Vennila, president, Coimbatore Women Advocates Association said:

“We felt pained as he misused this noble profession and brought a bad name to the entire legal community. At a time when the public has begun to raise doubts over the integrity of lawyers, it is unfortunate that ‘black sheep’ like him exists in our profession.”

Traditionally, an advocate who violates the legal ethics of the profession is extirpated from the membership of the Bar Council of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. Mr. M. Loganathan, secretary, Coimbatore Bar Association (CBA) said:

“Removal from practice by the Bar Council will be done only after a detailed inquiry by a disciplinary committee of the council. However, any case of violation of ‘legal ethics’ will be taken up for consideration only when the accused lawyer is convicted.”

Now, the Police suspect that lawyer E.T. Rajavel and his associates may have been involved in yet another murder.

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Murders Most Foul in Coimbatore


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Myself . By T.V. Antony Raj

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Murder Case

The police in Orissa and Tamilnadu, in India, are on the lookout for a woman named Mohana, involved in five cheating cases in Orissa. She has swindled around 12 crore rupees from depositors through a scam perpetrated by her Rightmax Technotrade India International group of companies. She is the wife of lawyer E.T. Rajavel (44), from Kurichi Housing Unit phase II in SIDCO, Coimbatore.

Two years ago, in December 2011, Ammasi, a 45-year-old woman from Sivananda Colony, Coimbatore, went missing. On December 19, 2011, Sakunthala, the daughter of the missing woman, filed a complaint with the Rathinapuri police about her missing mother. After some time, she and her relatives gave up their search for the missing woman assuming Amassi had left her home of her own accord for some reason or other.

Lawyer E.T. Rajavel
Lawyer E.T. Rajavel (Source: newindianexpress.com)

On December 10, 2011, Ammasi, had approached her lawyer Rajavel for legal help, to get her share of the property of her late husband. Rajavel then asked her to meet him at his office near the court complex on the Huzur Road, Gopalapuram, Coimbatore, for discussion. 

On the following day (December 11, 2011), lawyer Rajavel brought home the body of his dead wife Mohana who had gone out of the city a few days ago. The following morning (December 12, 2011), Mohana’s body was cremated at the Attupalam electric crematorium.

After obtaining his wife’s death certificate from the Coimbatore Corporation, Rajavel submitted it to the Orissa police hoping they would close the cases against his wife.

Fate now intervened in the form of an ongoing police investigation.

Three and a half years ago, on April 18, 2010, R. Manivel (47), a Coimbatore-based realtor, undergoing treatment for HIV+ infection went missing, and a complaint of ‘man missing ‘ was filed on May 20, 2010. Manivel from Nanjundapuram road near Ramanathapuram in the city, thought to be a bachelor, was living alone and was planning to sell 26.5 cents along Nanjundapuram Road that belonged to him.

After the disappearance of Manivel, the land which came under the Peelamedu sub-registrar was sold on October 27, 2010, to a person named Muthamizh through the Sulur Sub-Registrar office. A four-cent plot in Sulur was also tagged along with the 26.5 cents land by manipulating the technicality in the rules of the registration department. Murugan alias Saddam Hussein, the elder brother of Muthamizh, impersonated Manivel to register the sale deed of the land.

The copy of the sale document bore the signature of Manivel in Tamil, and in the attached photograph Manivel looked different from the person who appeared before the registrar. Manivels’s bank passbook submitted as identity proof showed that the bank account was opened on May 7, 2010 whereas Manivel went missing on April 18, 2010.

The investigating team also found that Chandrabose had approached a city court staking his claim over a 98-cent land belonging to a woman named Visalaksh. He claimed that he was the foster son of Visalakshi and as she did not have any issue was the sole legal heir to her property. A few years ago, the woman too went missing and since then nobody had seen her. The police suspect that the disappearance of Visalakshi has similarity to Manivel’s case. Chandrabose’s demand for rights over the missing woman’s property has strengthened their suspicion.

Subsequently, the police inquiry revealed that Manivel was strangled to death in a factory owned by a person named Sakthivel (35) and the body was buried at Kuppepalayam by Sakthivel, Muthamizh, Chandrabose, and Santhosh Kumar. The police also discovered that Muthamizh, Murugan, Sakthivel, and another person named Saravanan were involved in the property transaction and the buyer Muthamizh had disposed all his properties in Coimbatore and had left for Chennai. 

Sakthivel, Murugan, Chandrabose, and Santhosh Kumar were arrested by the Coimbatore Police and the key accused Muthamizh surrendered at a Chennai court. 

Investigations by the police revealed that Mohana in whose name Manivel’s property was registered, and her husband – lawyer E.T. Rajavel who had appeared for Chandrabose, had a role in the murder. An undisclosed source told the police that lawyer Rajavel was a cheat for he had faked his wife’s death. When pressed, the source told the police that Rajavel had brought the body of a dead woman one night saying it was his wife and cremated the body early the next morning.

This is what really transpired on December 11, 2011. When Ammasi came to lawyer Rajavel’s office at Huzur Road, Gopalapuram, the lawyer, his driver Palanisamy and a friend Ponnarasu strangled her with a saree and electric wire.

Ponnarasu
Ponnarasu (Source: newindianexpress.com)

They then took the dead body to the lawyer’s house and enacted a drama that Mohana had died. Rajavel wailed over the body through the night and cremated the body next morning at the Attupalam electric crematorium.

Also, the police heard rumours that Mohana was still alive – an ex-neighbour of Rajavel had seen Mohana at a wedding.

Rajavel found it difficult to sell the property misappropriated from Manivel that was registered in his wife’s name. In April 2013, Rajavel and his wife moved a city court to cancel the death certificate after declaring that she was alive and wanted to remove Mohana’s name from the death registry of the Corporation.

On Monday (December 2, 2013), the Coimbatore City Police arrested Rajavel’s driver Palanisamy and Rajavel’s friend Ponraj alias Ponnarasu, the Kurichi area secretary of the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK).

On Tuesday (December 3, 2013), Ammasi’s daughter Sakunthala lodged a complaint with the city police seeking action against all involved in the murder of her mother.

Now, Mohana the ‘scammer’ and her lawyer husband Rajavel ‘the cheat’ are on the run for killing Ammasi. Sources said that police were taking steps to ensure that they do not escape the country.

Murder Most Foul: Part 4 – The Trial and the Judgement


.Myself

By T. V. Antony Raj

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Fiat justitia ruat caelum
(‘Let justice be done though the heavens fall.’)

Fiat justitia ruat caelum

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A team of Madras City Police travelled to Bombay in search of the Menons. With the help of the Bombay police, they traced the relatives with whom the Menons were staying.

When the police arrived, Devaki Menon who had undergone an abortion was resting at the home of her husband’s relatives. Prabhakara Menon was not there. He had gone out and the police traced him to the Chowpatty Beach, Girgaum. Menon had shaved off his moustache, nevertheless, the police recognized him. One member of the Madras police took out a fountain pen from Menon’s pocket. The pen had the initials of Alavandar.

The police arrested Devaki and Prabhakara Menon. A Bombay City Magistrate charging them with the murder of Alavandar, and other miscellaneous charges, remanded them to custody. The arrested couple was brought to Madras.

A team of top Madras police officials investigated the murder and gathered evidence for the trial assisted by Dr N. Pitchandi and Dr C.B. Gopalakrishna, the Police Surgeon, Madras, and consultant for a few other states in India, and to the Indian Army.

The Malabar knife used by Prabhakara Menon to decapitate and amputate the body of the dead Alavandar, which he later threw in a park in Broadway, Madras, was found by the park attendant, who in turn gave it to his mistress. The police recovered it from the woman to include it as evidence. They found the shop where Menon bought it on the morning of the killing.

The police also found the blood-stained sari worn by Devaki Menon at the time of the murder, and while helping her husband to dismember the dead body.

As there were no eyewitnesses to Alavandar’s murder, the police tried to make a deal with Devaki Menon by suggesting that she would be given the state’s pardon for her role in the murder if she gave evidence against her husband. But she turned down the offer since she believed that her husband killed Alavandar to save her honour.

The Trial

The trial came up for hearing at the Madras High Court Original Criminal Sessions before the renowned Judge, Mr Justice A. S. P. Iyer (Ayilam Subramania Panchapakesan Iyer).

The eminent lawyer S. Govind Swaminathan was the State Prosecutor. Advocates B.T. Sundararajan and S. Krishnamurthy appeared for the two accused.

The trial by jury was then in force in Madras High Court. A panel of nine jurors, some of whom were noted citizens of Madras, was sworn in was sworn in.

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HOARY HALL - A view of a hall in the Madras High Court (Photo: K. N. Chari)
HOARY HALL – A view of a hall in the Madras High Court (Photo: K. N. Chari)

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Large crowds thronged at the hearings of this sensational trial. On March 13, 1953, according to the Indian Express, “… the crowd in the courtroom became unmanageable, delaying the proceedings.”

The next day was no different. The veranda, leading to the court hall, was so crowded it made entry into the court hall difficult. The police bundobusts (arrangements) were meagre, and reserve police were called in.

The couple, Prabhakara Menon and his wife Devaki, pleaded “not guilty” to the various charges including murder.

The prosecutor Govind Swaminathan built up a strong case of a planned murder of Alavandar by the couple. He stated that the servant boy of the Menons told the police that he heard Menon and Devaki discuss the ways to get rid of Alavandar and that Prabhakara Menon had pressurized his wife to bring Alavandar to their house so that he could give the devil his due. It was a case of killing the snake that strayed into one’s home.

Defending advocate, B. T. Sundararajan, argued that the killing was not pre-meditated as suggested by the prosecution. Prabhakara Menon was provoked to murderous fury by the playboy who assailed his wife Devaki in their own house, with the intention of having sex with her against her will. The defence lawyer stated: “It was done out of grave provocation and in self-defence. It is a homicide and not murder.

What is the difference between “homicide” and “murder”? In fact, most people use these two terms interchangeably.

A homicide is the killing of one human being by another. The killing may be accidental or intentional; it may or may not be done with criminal intent. If one kills a man accidentally or in self-defence, it would be considered “homicide”; similarly, if one runs over an individual intentionally, it would be considered “homicide”. It is a neutral term. So, voluntary manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter and vehicular homicide all are types of homicides that are not murders.

Black’s Law Dictionary edited by the world’s foremost American legal lexicographer, Bryan A. Garner, is the definitive legal resource for American lawyers, law students and laypeople alike. It is known for its clear and precise legal definitions, substantive accuracy, and stylistic clarity – making it the most cited legal dictionary in print. According to Black’s Law Dictionary, the word homicide merely “describes the act, it pronounces no judgment on the moral or legal quality”.

Murder, on the other hand, is an illegal act that usually involves some degree of premeditation or intention to kill. Murder is punishable by death under Article 302 of the Indian Penal Code.

The word “murder” has a negative connotation associated with it. The police force in the United States has a Homicide Department, but not a Murder Department.

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The Judgement

Gavel

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Justice A. S. P. Iyer, a person ingrained in the ancient Hindu tradition opined that the victim, Alavandar, the scallywag, was a disgrace to humanity and deserved to be eliminated. He considered the killing as a “justifiable execution of an unwanted rascal.”

After the lengthy trial, Justice A. S. P. Iyer’s summing-up to the jury swerved in favour of the two accused. He accepted and supported the sudden and grave provocation theory put forward by the defence, taking into consideration the interests of the society and its morals. However, some people felt that his indulgence towards the accused couple from Kerala prejudiced because he too hailed from Kerala, from the agraharam in Ayilam Gramam, 320 km from Palakkad. However, the jury returned a unanimous verdict of ‘guilty’ against both the accused.

However, the jury returned a unanimous verdict of guilty against both the accused.

On August 13, 1953, accepting the verdict of the Jury, Justice A. S. P. Iyer sentenced Prabhakara Menon to seven years rigorous imprisonment for culpable homicide and Devaki to three years in prison.

The top police officials who were eager to get the maximum punishment of death by hanging for Prabhakara Menon, the first accused, were sorely disappointed by the sentence.

Menon wanted to appeal against the sentence. But his lawyer, B.T. Sundararajan, advised him not to, now that he had escaped with a light sentence thanks to the judge. Menon accepted his lawyer’s advice and did not appeal.

The Menons were released early due to their good conduct in prison, and they shifted back to their native state, Kerala. In their prayer room, the couple placed a photo of Justice A.S.P.  Iyer along with the gods and goddesses venerated by them.

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