On May 28, the Nalgonda district police received a horrific letter by Speed Post. A woman from a town in the district had written to them, telling them that she was committing suicide and why.
The date on the letter written by Chanda (name changed), says that it was posted on May 24. Copies were sent to Telangana state DGP Anurag Sharma, the Nalgonda Superintendent of Police, the Women Protection Cell and Nalgonda District Collector.
In her letter, Chanda had accused her mother Padma and husband Vijayender Reddy of attempting to force her into prostitution. According to the police, Chanda had written that she was forced to marry Vijayender two years ago and that he would sexually and mentally harass her. She said she was sick of her husband and had sought a divorce, but Vijayender asked her to pay Rs 20 lakh to get rid of him.
â€śOn May 23 Chanda finished her B. Tech exams and within 24 hours she was dead. Based on the letter, we started investigating,â€ť says Nakrekal Circle Inspector Venkateshvarulu Rao.
Chandaâ€™s college friends at Maturi Venkata Subba Rao Engineering College in Hyderabadâ€™s Saroor Nagar told police that Vijayender Reddy had called two of her friends and threatened them. He told them to convince Chanda to return or else he would kill her. They confirmed that Vijayender was sexually harassing her.
Rao said Chanda had given the letter to one of her friends with instructions that it had to be posted to all the people mentioned in the letter. They are still trying to find out who the friend is.
While Vijayender is absconding, the police managed to trace Padma and took her in for questioning. â€śWe are surprised that the motherâ€™s statement supported her son-in-law,â€ť Rao said.
Rao said Chandaâ€™s father died few years ago and the family had financial problems. Chandaâ€™s mother Padma had borrowed Rs 4 lakh from Vijayender, which she was unable to pay. Chanda was eventually forced to marry him as they were unable to repay the loan.
The day they received the letter, the Nakrekal police visited the Chandaâ€™s (21) motherâ€™s house in Nomula in Nakrekal town only to find it locked. The town is 30km away from Nalgonda, the district headquarters.
â€śThe neighbors told us that even two hours after her death (on May 25), she was not taken to the hospital and neither was a complaint lodged with the police. Padma and Vijayender had quietly shifted the body to Deepagunta (Nalgonda district), Chandaâ€™s in-lawsâ€™ native village, and cremated it. By the time we received the letter, it had already been four days since she died. We seized the ash and other remains of her body, and also took Padmaâ€™s blood sample for DNA tests,â€ť Rao said.
Investigations revealed that it was the husband who had bought the pesticide on May 24. â€śAs the husband bought the pesticide, we still donâ€™t know whether it was suicide or homicide. We canâ€™t say anything now because investigation is still going on.â€ť
The police have registered a case under Sections 201 IPC (destroying evidence) and 306 IPC (abetment to commit suicide).
According to Section 174 (3) of the Criminal Procedure Code, a magisterial inquiry has to be conducted into the death of a woman if it occurs within seven years of her wedding.