Rapist and murderer Psycho Shankar, who spread terror in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, died in the wee hours of Tuesday at Bengaluru’s Parappana Agrahara Central Prison.
Prison authorities found him lying in a pool of blood, with his throat slit. Officials suspect that it was a suicide as Shankar, whose real name is M Jaishankar, was serving his term in solitary confinement.
“It was around 2-2.30 am when beat officers found him lying, with his throat slit. We suspect that he used a shaving blade. We suspect it is a case of suicide as he was alone in his cell, and no one is allowed to go near where he was incarcerated. We immediately shifted him to the Jail Hospital, but his condition only began deteriorating. We rushed him to Victoria Hospital, but he died in the ambulance itself,” sources in the prison said.
The Parappana Agrahara Police have registered a case of suicide and are conducting a preliminary probe into his death.
A truck driver from Kanniyanpatti in Salem district, Shankar’s first crime was committed on July 3, 2009, where he attempted to rape and kill a woman near Hosur.
Two months later, he raped and murdered a woman police constable Jayamani in Perumannalur.
‘Psycho’ Shankar, as he was dubbed by the media, raped and murdered 13 women across Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. He was known to target sex workers – he took them to isolated fields and then raped them before hacking them to death.
Shankar was married, and is survived by his wife and three daughters.
He was first apprehended in 2009 by the Tamil Nadu Police. However, in 2011, when they were taking him from Dharmapuri to Coimbatore for a hearing, he escaped near a Salem bus stop.
One of the police constables responsible for transporting him, Chinnaswamy, shot himself with his service revolver the very next day.
Psycho Shankar fled to Karnataka where he raped and killed six more women in Tumakuru and Chitradurga districts. On his way to the state, he is suspected to have killed a man and child in Dharmapuri.
Since the spree of rapes and murders in Karnataka bore a striking resemblance to Shankar’s modus operandi, the police put out posters of him everywhere and announced a bounty for his capture.
A few months later, Shankar reached Elagi village in Chitradurga district on a stolen motorbike. He spotted Chandrakala Hotagi, who was working in a farm, and asked her for some water. He then tried to rape her. However, Chandrakala raised an alarm and her husband, Prakash, and some locals caught Shankar and handed him over to the police.
He was sentenced to 27 years in prison and was lodged in Parappana Agrahara Central Prison.
However, in 2013, Shankar complained of uneasiness and was taken to the Jail Hospital. According to reports, prison personnel facilitated his escape.
Shankar tied together some bed sheets and scaled two 15-ft inner walls and the 30 ft outer wall of the prison.
Eleven police officers deployed at the prison were suspended on suspicion of having helped Shankar escape.
Shankar had injured his leg due to the impact of the jump from the outer wall and was unable to move around much. Six days after his escape, through an informant, the police managed to nab him in Bommanahalli.
Sources in Parappana Agrahara Central Prison say that Shankar was kept in a separate cell with a special lock facility ever since he was arrested after escaping from prison in 2013.
“There is no way any other convicts could have entered into the cell and slit his throat. We were also extremely cautious and had decided to treat him inside the cell, instead of taking him to the Jail Hospital if he fell sick. This seems like a suicide based on preliminary investigation,” a prison official said.