On May 8, Chennai woke up to the shocking news of a brutal double murder. Srikanth (58) and his wife Anuradha (52) were found buried in the plot of their own farmhouse in ECR, soon after their return from the United States. The main accused in the case is their driver Krishna, a native of Nepal, who had been working for them for the past 10 years. It has now emerged that their murder was an elaborate plan Krishna and his accomplice Ravi Rai had allegedly been hatching for over a month, and the murder was to loot Rs 40 crore, which, according to the police, was not even there in the first place.
On May 7, Srikanth, who worked as an auditor, and his wife Anuradha landed in Chennai around 3.30 am, after spending six months in the US with their daughter, Sunantha. Srikanth was a former Chief Financial Officer of Jio Infocomm, and then worked for Polaris, and was currently the head of corporate finance at Infibeam, a Gujarat-based firm.
As usual, Krishna, picked them up from the airport and drove them to Dwaraka Colony in Mylapore. What the couple did not know was that Krishna had already planned the murder and removed the CCTV cameras and Digital Video Recorder as they were on the flight. He had refrained from removing it earlier as he was aware that the couple used to watch the CCTV feed from the US. After reaching home, police estimate that power was cut off and the murder happened with an hour or so. A while later, the couple’s son, Sashwath, who had been tracking their journey back home, lost contact with his parents. He immediately alerted a relative, who rushed to the house and found it locked. The door was broken open, the house was empty, and the police were informed.
The police reached the spot and started an inquiry. What led to immediate suspicion that the couple could have been harmed or murdered was a bloodstain in the house that had been cleaned using a disinfectant. The police learnt that Srikanth had a farmhouse in Mamallapuram on ECR Road and that his car was missing. A steel cupboard had been broken into as well. The police felt that the couple may have been kidnapped by Krishna — who was close to the family and stayed in a room in the couple's residence — so, they paid the Mamallapuram farmhouse a visit.
It was there that the police found a massive six-feet deep hole that appeared to be freshly dug. The police also found the couple’s phones and their airline tickets, half-burnt. The police realised that the driver Krishna was suspiciously missing, and a search party was deployed.
The Chennai police began to dig up phone records and details from Srikanth’s mobile phone. The police saw some messages from FASTag, that showed that the car had crossed a highway in Andhra Pradesh and was travelling along the Chennai-Kolkata national highway. CCTV footage from a toll booth confirmed that Srikanth’s car was being driven towards Kolkata.
The police then informed their Andhra Pradesh counterparts and Srikanth’s car was intercepted in Ongole there. Krishna and his accomplice Ravi Rai, also from Nepal, were driving the car, and the two were arrested immediately.
Krishna (right) and his accomplice Ravi (left)
Once in custody, the police said Krishna and Ravi confessed to the murder. Krishna and his father Padamlal had been working for Srikanth and Anuradha over the past ten years. Krishna’s father was a security guard at the couple’s farmhouse. However, the police said that a few weeks ago, Krishna sent his parents back to Nepal. He then roped in his friend Ravi, and dug a big hole at the farmhouse before they executed the murder.
According to the police, on Saturday, Krishna and Ravi had both gone to the airport to pick the couple up. Krishna introduced Ravi as his friend. As soon as the couple reached home, Krishna allegedly struck Srikanth on the head and stabbed him. In another room, Ravi attacked Anuradha, striking a blow to her head.
One thing that struck the police during the investigation was why Krishna did not rob the house in Srikanth's absence. During the robbery, the duo got around 1,000 sovereigns of gold and 60-70 kilograms of silver, which had been stored in the house even when the couple were abroad.
According to the police, a few months ago, Krishna overheard a phone conversation in the car in which Srikanth mentioned selling some property that was worth Rs 40 crore. Assuming that this was stored as cash in the house, the accused duo allegedly waited for the couple to come back, to retrieve their locker keys and loot the money as well as the gold. However, there was no money stored in the house. The police believe that Krishna must have asked Srikanth where he stored the money before he was bludgeoned to death, but did not receive a reply.
The duo allegedly used disinfectant to clean up the blood, broke into the cupboard, and bundled the couple’s body into the car. They drove to the couple’s farmhouse in ECR, and buried them there. After the burial, the two had allegedly planned on fleeing to Nepal, but were caught.