On Christmas eve, news outlets across Tamil Nadu began to report about the brutal murder of 50-year-old Banumathy, by her own daughter in Tiruvallur district. It was said that Banumathi learnt of 19-year-old Devi Priya's love affair with a man she met over Instagram and was against the relationship. On Monday evening, when her daughter tried to leave the house with her belongings to meet her boyfriend, she allegedly tried to stop her. In a fit of rage, reports said, Devi Priya stabbed her own mother to death.
But what police initially believed to be a crime of passion has now, after investigations, been classified as a 'planned murder'. According to the Tirivallur police who are investigating the case, Priya met her boyfriend Suresh who resides in Kumbakonam on Instagram, a social media application. They have been in touch for over a year and met whenever he came to her town. Recently, her mother who found out about the relationship, told her to immediately stop talking to Suresh and even restricted her phone usage. Angry over this, Priya allegedly contacted Suresh to complain and they plotted her mother's murder.
"They were planning to make the whole thing look like a break in," says an investigating officer. "Suresh said he can't come to do it and so they got two of their friends Vignesh and Ajith to take part in the crime. The two men were supposed to wear black masks, enter the house and kill Banumathy. Priya was supposed to act innocent and pretend like her mother was killed when she tried to stop a burglary," he adds.
But things didn't go quite as planned. At 3.30 pm on Monday, the two men who arrived to help, handed over the kitchen knife they procured from the house to Priya who committed the murder. She stabbed her mother thrice, in the chest and abdomen. As Banumathi collapsed screaming, Priya's older sister who had come back home from the school she was working in rushed out to see what happened. Vignesh and Ajith rushed out of the house but were stopped by neighbours who spotted blood stains on their clothes.
"The police were immediately alerted and initial interrogation revealed that Priya was involved as well," says the officer. "When we brought her to the station for the inquiry she admitted to planning the crime. She said that she did not like that her mother was chastising her for the affair and that is why she killed her. She kept trying to justify her actions. We are waiting for records of all their conversations on social media to supplement initial evidence," he adds.
The police have arrested Suresh from Kumbakonam as well and all four of the accused have been booked for murder. Priya's father and sister, meanwhile, have distanced themselves from the case and are not willing to hire legal representation for her, as of now.