'Never thought he'd go to this extent': Uthra's father on gruesome murder with cobra

25-year old Uthra was found dead at her house at Anchal in Kollam and her husband Sooraj is accused of killing her using a cobra.
Kerala snakebite crime victim Uthra and husband
Kerala snakebite crime victim Uthra and husband
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Vijayasenan and Manimeghala had tried a couple of times to bring their daughter Uthra back from her husband’s place. Their daughter was unhappy, constantly pestered for money and confessed her trauma to her parents.

The couple say they went to Adoor where their son-in-law Sooraj’s home is located at the end of 2019 too. At that time Sooraj’s sister and mother screamed at them, stopping them from taking their daughter home.

“We were about to take Uthra back when they began yelling and pleading, so we had second thoughts,” Vijayasenan tells TNM.

Months later, twenty-five-year old Uthra was found dead at their home in Anchal on May 7. 

Police investigation showed that she was bitten by an Indian cobra and her husband Sooraj who has been accused of hiring the cobra to bite his wife, has been arrested.  

Sooraj allegedly had been conspiring to kill his wife for a while, but his first attempt on March 2 using a viper at his house in Adoor had failed. Uthra survived that attempt and went home with her parents after being hospitalised for the snakebite.

Uthra'a parents too have come under scrutiny of the civic society for giving dowry and not taking their daughter back despite the harassment by her husband. Vijayasenan however says he never considered what he gave his daughter during wedding as 'dowry'  

Sooraj, Vijayasenan says, would frequently ask for money which he used to give. “Yes, I gave my daughter 96 sovereigns of gold. I didn’t see that as dowry, but as giving a share of my hard work to my daughter. Many are questioning me for that now. I know giving dowry is a crime; but why is it not brought up when rich and influential people do it? The gold was kept in a bank locker in a joint account belonging to my daughter and Sooraj. But the account was operated by Sooraj. Sometimes he would say that he needed Rs 10,000 or Rs 15,000 and I used to give him that money, so that they wouldn’t need to pledge or sell the gold and it would remain as savings for them in the future,” Vijayasenan says.

Sixty-one-year old Vijayasenan is a farmer and trader. His wife Manimeghala is a teacher who is retiring from service soon. On Tuesday, Sooraj’s mother Renuka told the media that her son was innocent. Renuka also repeatedly told the media that Manimeghala was about to retire next month and would get Rs 65 lakh upon retirement, which it was said would be shared equally between Uthra and her brother Vishu. So Renuka asked why would Sooraj need to kill Uthra. This insensitive comment too has become a point of debate in the state.

Vijayasenan though believes that Sooraj wanted to grab everything he had. “Vishu also entered the room to search for the snake, what if he had also been bitten by the snake. We suspect that Sooraj had intended that too, so that he can own everything we have. We now suspect that even his family members also had a role in the crime,” he says.

The father laments that he had done background checks before the wedding, but found nothing incriminating about Sooraj. 

“We enquired about him before the wedding and what I understood was that he was not a bad person. But in due course we sensed something was wrong, slowly he began revealing his real nature. But we never knew he was a criminal who would go to this extent. None of us would have even heard about a crime of this nature in the whole world, right? He did it to evade the law, to make us all believe that Uthra died of snakebite,” Vijayasenan says.  


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