K’taka court gives serial killer ‘Cyanide’ Mohan life term in rape and murder case

This is the fifth such case where Cyanide Mohan has been convicted.
K’taka court gives serial killer ‘Cyanide’ Mohan life term in rape and murder case
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For six years, southern Karnataka lived in fear after a spate of killings that began in 2003 and spanned five districts. The victims – 32 of them – were all women, who had been poised with cyanide and found in the restrooms of bus stations with a rope around their neck. In 2010, Cyanide Mohan was finally arrested, with the police uncovering a series of gory crimes that he had allegedly committed.

On Friday, the 6th Additional District Sessions Court in Mangaluru convicted ‘Cyanide’ Mohan for murder, rape and robbery of a 28-year-old woman from Bantwal in Dakshina Kannada. He was sentenced to life imprisonment.

This is the fifth case Cyanide Mohan has been convicted and there are several more cases pending.

The case

In September 2009, Cyanide Mohan contacted the victim Anita Barimar at the bus stand in Madanthyar and introduced himself as Shashidhar Poojary. He also got the woman’s mobile number and after what seemed like a brief courtship, offered to marry her. On September 24 that year, he took her to Ganesh Lodge in Hassan and raped her. He later gave her a pill, saying that it was a contraceptive. He asked her to go into the Hassan bus stop and take the pill. The woman died a few minutes later inside the rest room. He returned to Ganesh Lodge and made away with her jewellery. Later, he sold those gold ornaments to a jewellery merchant in Hassan.

On Friday, he was convicted under sections 307 (imprisonment until death), 392 (six years imprisonment for robbery), 201 (five years for tampering with evidence), 328 (seven years for causing hurt by poisoning), 366 (six years for abduction) and 376 (seven years for rape).

The trail of killings

Although the bodies of these women were being found in various towns across the five districts since 2003, the police had never connected the killings. They were all declared suicides, even after the autopsy of two victims showed traces of cyanide in them.

Even in 2009, when Anita’s body was found in the bus stop, the police had not suspected it to be the job of a serial killer. However, Anita’s murder had become controversial as her parents had alleged that she had fled with a Muslim boy during the communal clashes in Dakshina Kannada district. Members from Anita’s community - Bangera - had carried out a protest and threatened to burn down the Bantwal Police Station.

Through Anita’s call records led them to Madikeri, Kasargod and Puttur. All these calls were made to women, who had gone missing. After analysing call records of the missing women, the police were convinced that they were about to bust a sex trade racket. Finally, they got hold of a boy named Dhanush from Deralakatte in Mangaluru. When the police caught hold of him, he revealed that his uncle Mohan Kumar had given him the phone.

The police found that Mohan Kumar was now in contact with a woman named Sumithra Pujari from Bantwal. The police used Sumithra to nab Mohan. However, what he revealed during the interrogation was worse than what the police suspected. It was not a flesh trade, but a serial killer they had nabbed.

He revealed that he had allegedly killed 32 women. Mohan would lure them with the promise of marriage, rape them, take them to the nearest bus stand where he would ask them to take a birth control pill. The pill was laced with cyanide. The women went to the restrooms to take the pill as he had told them it would make them sick.

All these women were found dead in their wedding sarees. The jewellery they had bought for the wedding was stolen by Mohan. As news of his brutality hit the media, Mohan Kumar was branded ‘Cyanide’ Mohan.

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