The woman's father had initially filed a missing persons complaint.

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news Crime Saturday, October 17, 2020 - 09:02

The Karnataka police on Friday arrested a 48-year-old farmer from Kudur in Ramanagara for allegedly killing his 18-year-old daughter for falling in love with a Dalit man. Eighteen-year-old Hemalatha's body was recovered in a mango grove in Magadi, about 60 km away from Bengaluru city, in a mango grove. The police said that Krishnappa, who is from the Vokkaliga community, a dominant caste, did not approve of his daughter's relationship with her boyfriend Puneet, who is from the Dalit community. 

On October 9, 48-year-old Krishnappa filed a missing persons complaint with the Kudur Police stating that his 18-year-old daughter Hemalatha, a first-year B.Com student, was missing. In his complaint, he alleged that he had gone to his farm to oversee some work and returned home at 4 pm to find that his daughter had gone missing. He had also said that a man named Puneet had been constantly calling his daughter for a few weeks. He had also indicated that he suspects Puneet's hand in her disappearance. 

The Kudur Police, who began the probe, picked up Puneet, a farm worker in Kudur, for questioning. Kudur Police said that after interrogating Puneet several times, they began to suspect foul play. "Puneet told us that he and Hemalatha had been in love since she began going to college. He said that a few weeks ago, Krishnappa found out that Puneet and Hemalatha were in a relationship and wanted her to end it," Magadi Circle Inspector Manjunath told TNM. 

Puneet allegedly told the investigators that Krishnappa wanted Hemalatha to end the relationship. He also informed the police that Krishnappa told Hemalatha's cousins, Yogi (21) and a 17-year-old, to talk to Hemalatha and dissuade her from continuing the relationship. 

“We just couldn't find anything suspicious about Puneet initially and his alibi was accurate too. There were witnesses who said he was working in the farm at the time of the disappearance. That's when we began suspecting Krishnappa,” the police said. 

On October 14, the police took Krishnappa into custody and questioned him as they suspected his hand in her disappearance. “He kept changing his statement. He initially said he and his nephews killed her. He later said that he found her body when he dug up a pit to plant saplings in the mango grove. But, the interrogation of Yogi and the minor revealed that the three of them killed Hemalatha," Inspector Manjunath added. 

On October 15, the police picked up Yogi and interrogators with expertise in questioning juvenile suspects took the 17-year-old boy into custody. "We learned that the three of them were involved in the murder," Inspector Manjunath said. 

Police said that on the evening of October 9, while Krishnappa was on the farm, Yogi and the minor boy allegedly got Hemalatha to the grove by telling her that her father was waiting for her. "When they took her to the mango grove, Krishnappa and Hemalatha are believed to have had a fight. Based on Yogi's confession, we learned that Krishnappa told her that he would kill her. Yogi and the minor boy smashed a boulder on her head. Then the three men dug up a pit in the grove and buried her body," police added. 

The Kudur Police took Krishnappa to the spot where the body was buried and recovered the body on Friday. "He is claiming that his nephews killed her and he later found the body when he dug up the pit to plant saplings. His testimony kept changing. Finally yesterday afternoon (Friday) he confessed to the crime. He said that his daughter's relationship with a Dalit man would have brought shame upon his family due to which he enlisted his nephews' help to kill her," Inspector Manjunath added. 

The Kudur Police registered an FIR under section 302 (murder), 120b (criminal conspiracy) and 34 (common intention) of the Indian Penal Code on Friday.