When Prateeksha’s mother spoke to her on Thursday, little did she know that it would be the last time they’d ever speak.Two days later, the police called to ask them to identify a body that was recovered from Tipu’s Drop near Nandi hills in the outskirts of Bengaluru.
It was two pairs of abandoned footwear – one a woman’s and the other a child’s – that led the police to suspect that someone had committed suicide. Subsequent inquiries and search led them to Prateeksha’s body in the forests near Nadi Hills on Sunday morning.
“We were initially confused and later shocked when the police contacted us to come and identify a body. We were all very broken when it turned out to be our daughter,” said Prateeksha’s father Nagaraj, who is a businessman in Bagepalli area in Chikkaballapur district.
Fifty-four-year-old Nagaraj told The News Minute that he suspects Prateeksha and her two-year-old son were murdered by the in-laws and her husband.
“Prateeksha last spoke to my wife on December 17 evening. No one responded when we tried calling her around 10 am next day. We thought it must have been in silent mode and just waited for her to call back,” said Nagaraj.
Twenty-five-year-old Prateeksha was married to Suman immediately after she completed her engineering.
“I don’t remember when the dowry trouble started. We would keep giving money as and when her in-laws asked for money. We would receive calls from Prateeksha now and then asking for money but in the last few months the trouble got quite bad,” he said.
He says they do not know how much money they gave Prateeksha’s in-laws given in the three years and nine months during which Prateeksha was married to Suman.
Asked how they responded to her troubles in close to four years of marriage, Nagaraj said: “We told her to adjust.”
Nagaraj filed a complaint against Suman and his family on Sunday after Prateeksha’s body was found, said DySp Chikkaballapur Purushotham, who is investigating case.
Prateeksha is suspected to have jumped from Tipu’s Drop, which is notorious for suicides, late on Friday evening. Before she took the extreme step she is suspected to have flung her two-year-old son too. However, the police are still looking for the child’s body in the thick forests below Tipu’s Drop.
Her husband and her in-laws have been at large since Friday and there has been no news about them so far.
Purushotham said that a neighbour saw the child last with Prateeksha on Friday. “Based on that we are assuming that the child was thrown from the suicide spot and we are looking for the body,” he said.
Purushotham said that Prateeksha’s body was gnawed by wild animals and was in a decomposed state when they found it. “The forest is quite deep and it is a steep climb. So the search operation is slow. We at least hope to find the remains of the child” he said.
Nagaraj said the whole family is shaken. “Her mother is in no condition to talk. I am talking because you have called. She was our courage. Without her…”