The Kollam womanâ€™s death due to snakebite was a murder committed by her husband, confirmed investigating officials who cracked the case after suspicions raised by her family as it was the second time she suffered a snakebite in three months.
According to the police, Uthra, 26, was killed by her husband, Sooraj, with the help of an Indian Cobra he procured from his snake catcher friend.
After investigations, the crime branch arrested Sooraj, a private bank employee from Adoor in Pathanamthitta district, and Suresh, a snake-catcher who supplied the cobra and a Russell's viper, both highly poisonous, on charges of killing the woman.
Uthraâ€™s parents had approached the police saying there was something suspicious about the death of their daughter on May 7 as barely a couple of months ago she had survived a snakebite.
The couple were married for around two years and some financial angle was suspected behind the killing, police said, adding that Sooraj had received 98 sovereigns of gold jewellery as dowry.
"A man who provided the snakes and the husband who initially attempted to kill his wife with a poisonous snake and later succeeded in killing her in the same manner have been arrested," Kollam police chief K S Hari Sankar told mediapersons on Sunday.
Police found digital evidence on Soorajâ€™s mobile phone on which he had been watching snake-related videos on YouTube since the last three months, apparently to get trained in handling them, he said.
Police said Sooraj bought the Russell's viper from Suresh and on March 2, he attempted to kill his wife at their house in Adoor using the snake.
The woman was hospitalised and discharged on April 22 after which she had returned to her parent's home in Anchal in Kollam district.
Sooraj once again contacted Suresh and purchased an Indian cobra and on May 6 night, he had dropped it on his wife while she was sleeping.
"He watched the snake bite her twice. On May 7 morning, he got out of the room as usual and her mother found her unconscious," a police official said, quoting his interrogation.
She was declared dead on arrival at a hospital while the snake found in the room was later killed.
Police said the snake catcher had been involved in illegal trade of the reptiles and the forest department, which has been informed, will file a separate case.