Sanjay Kumar Yadav, accused of killing nine persons of a family and dumping their bodies in a well at Telangana’s Warangal district, was awarded the death sentence on Wednesday by the First Additional District Sessions Judge, Warangal, K Jayakumar. The police had said that the man carried out nine murders to cover up the killing of a woman related to the family.
The Warangal police arrested the 24-year-old on May 25, four days after the nine bodies were recovered from the well. The police had filed a 475-page chargesheet and lined up 67 witnesses to prove their case against the accused. The court completed the trial within 36 days after receiving the chargesheet, reported Telangana Today. The accused can however, approach the High Court to challenge the death penalty.
It was the second month of the coronavirus lockdown and the peak of the migrant worker crisis on May 21, when four bodies of a migrant worker family from West Bengal were found in an agricultural well at Gorrekunta village in Geesugonda mandal of Warangal (Rural). At the time, police suspected that the family killed themselves over financial distress brought about by the lockdown.
The police sought assistance from a forensic team, deployed sniffer dogs and began an investigation. On the second day, five more bodies emerged from the well. The suspicion of mass murder was confirmed when scratch marks were found on the bodies by the forensics team, indicating that the bodies were dragged to the well. Six special teams were formed to crack the case.
On the first day, the police recovered the bodies of 48-year-old Maqsood, his wife Nisha, their two-year-old daughter and a relative, Bushra Khatun. On the second day, the police recovered the bodies of Maqsood's two sons, a friend of the family and two other men who were employed at the gunny bag manufacturing factory where the family worked and lived.
Investigations and CCTV footage led police to Sanjay who is said to have confessed to killing nine people, six of whom were from a single-family. Sanjay, a native of Bihar had been working at Warangal for the past six years and was in a relationship with a 37-year-old Rafiqa, a niece of Nisha. On March 6, the couple was en route to West Bengal to meet Rafiqa's family for talks about marriage. The police said that Sanjay gave her buttermilk laced with sleeping pills, strangulated her and threw her out of the train.
He then returned back to Warangal and told Nisha's family that Rafiqa had gone to a relative’s house in West Bengal. Nisha did not believe Sanjay's statement on Rafiqa's whereabouts and threatened to file a police complaint about her missing niece.
The police said that on May 20, Sanjay visited Maqsood's home to attend his son's birthday celebrations and mixed sleeping pills in the food consumed by six family members and three guests. Once the nine persons fell unconscious, Sanjay dragged each of them into the agricultural well near the factory between 12.30 am and 5 am, according to investigation officials. He left with their cell phones after confirming that all of them had drowned.